Poor playing conditions and stiff competition did not deter the women’s tennis team this weekend, as Yale easily defeated two Ivy foes in New Haven, setting itself up as a team to beat in Ancient Eight league play.
The Bulldogs (9-5, 3-1), who were coming off a huge 4-3 win over Princeton last week, went into the windy weekend with confidence and focus, and they came out with a 7-0 thrashing of Cornell Saturday afternoon and a 6-1 victory over Columbia-Barnard Friday.
With the wind blowing furiously Saturday, players had to adjust their game plans to account for erratic bounces. The result for the Elis was a less graceful and aesthetically appealing brand of tennis but a win nonetheless.
“There were a lot of ugly points, but Yale just hung in so well and was willing to play those ugly points instead of making errors early,” Eli head coach Meghan McMahon said. “They were just fighting and clawing and scratching.”
Against Cornell, the doubles team of freshman twins Karlyn and Ashley Martin ignited the Bulldogs with an 8-6 win over Ngozi Arnobi and Kate Sternberg. From their No. 2 spot, the twins have established themselves as a formidable duo.
“I think they were being more tentative [than in previous matches] because they were supposed to win,” captain Lauren Muehl ’01 said. “Their [April 6] win over Penn probably set them up as the best team in the Ivy League, period.”
In the No. 1 position, Andrea Goldberg ’02 and Biffy Kaufman ’03 teamed up to secure the team point with an 8-4 victory over Laura Leigh Tallent and Suzanne Wright. Susie Hiniker ’02 and Margaret Purcell ’04 dropped their match 8-2 to Nicole Chiu and Alexandra DelPrete.
Goldberg followed up her doubles win with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Wright in the top singles match. It was a big personal victory for Goldberg because Wright was first-team All-Ivy last season and a runner-up for Ivy League player of the year. But Goldberg was not intimidated.
“I thought going in that I was going to win the match,” Goldberg said. “I lost to her last year, but I think I’ve improved a lot [since then].”
The rest of the Bulldogs took Goldberg’s example and won going away. At No. 3 Kaufman came from a set down against Tallent to win in a third-set tiebreaker 5-7, 6-1, 1-0(5). Rounding out the remaining singles matches were Purcell, Hiniker, Liz Oosterhuis ’02 and Karlyn Martin, who each won in straight sets.
The Columbia-Barnard match did not start as auspiciously for the Bulldogs because the Lions captured the doubles point with two close wins. The Martins lost to Leena Krishnaswamy and Melissa Nguyen 8-6, and Hiniker and Purcell fell to Shelly Mittal and Laila Shetty by the same score. Goldberg and Kaufman slammed Columbia’s team of Joyce Change and Ilene Wentraub 8-1.
Yale swept the six singles matches, dropping only one set. Oosterhuis won a third-set tiebreaker to defeat Change 6-2, 4-6, 1-0(4), and Purcell sprinted out to a 5-0 against Shetty before her opponent retired. Goldberg, Kaufman, Hiniker and Karly Martin each won in two sets.
The Bulldogs were favored in both matches, but were wary of would-be spoilers.
“In both matches we had a lot to lose because they’re teams we’ve beaten in the past,” McMahon said. “All you can do to improve is beat them worse than the year before.”
Yale hopes to continue its winning ways today at Brown.
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