W. tennis impresses at Princeton Invitational

The women’s tennis team endured three hectic days of competition this weekend at the 21st Annual Princeton Invitational tennis tournament.

The intra-league tournament provided a venue for the top players from eight teams to showcase their skills. And each of the four Yale players who competed in the tournament — Andrea Goldberg ’02, Susie Hiniker ’02, Liz Oosterhuis ’02 and Biffy Kaufman ’03 — asserted herself as a force to be watched in the upcoming Ivy League season.

Andrea Goldberg ’02, who was seeded fourth, advanced to the semifinals before she fell to the eventual champion, Pilar Montgomery of Penn State, 3-6, 3-6. Goldberg won her first and second round matches with ease, dispensing with Columbia’s Tina Romic 6-2, 6-0 and Brown’s Olivia Wong 6-0, 6-4.

In the quarterfinals, Goldberg faced Temple’s Lara Ercegovic in one of the closest matches of the tournament, a heated three-hour battle. After losing the first set, 3-6, Goldberg dominated the second, winning 6-1. But the momentum shifted yet again, as Ercegovic quickly captured the first three games of the third set.

But Goldberg fought back and stunned her Owl opponent by taking the next six games.

“It never occurred to me for some reason that I was going to lose,” Goldberg said. “I felt so focused out there — I was sort of ‘in the zone.'”

Yale’s head coach Meghan McMahon said Goldberg’s quarterfinal victory “was the best match I’ve seen her play all year.”

Kaufman also advanced to the quarterfinals, but was forced to withdraw because of an ankle injury that had bothered her all weekend. Playing through the pain, Kaufman won her first two matches, beating Penn State’s Rebecca Ho, 7-6, 7-5 and Pennsylvania’s Rachel Shweky, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3.

“Biffy Kaufman played beautifully,” McMahon said. “She played one of Penn’s best players by creating chances to close points out at the net, where she likes to be.”

Hiniker used an aggressive, well-rounded game to upend Joyce Chang, Columbia’s top singles player, 6-1, 6-2. She continued to attack in the second round but was subdued by Princeton’s Gailor Large, 3-6, 4-6.

“I lost in two close sets and felt like I had my chances,” Hiniker said. “But I didn’t quite capitalize on them.”

Another Bulldog also fell to the eventual champion Montgomery. Oosterhuis faced off against Montgomery in the first round and lost 6-2, 6-0. In the consolation bracket, Oosterhuis won two matches in straight sets.

In the doubles action, Hiniker and Oosterhuis lost in the first round, 9-8, to Temple’s duo of Ercegovic and Katarina Kramaric. Goldberg and Kaufman handily defeated Princeton’s Jackie Arcario and Anne Coats, 8-1, but they then had to withdraw because of Kaufman’s injury.

Overall, McMahon was pleased with her team’s performance. She hopes the injuries to Kaufman, Margaret Purcell — who is also suffering from an ankle injury — and others heal in time for the spring trip to California and subsequently, the Ivy season.

Yale’s next action is at home against Seton Hall Wednesday at 2:30 pm.

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