The undefeated women’s tennis (8-0) team blew away an overmatched University of Massachusetts squad Tuesday afternoon.
The women, nationally ranked No. 39 after an impressive victory over then-nationally ranked No. 13 Wake Forest, skunked Massachusetts 7-0 on the Bulldogs’ tennis courts. The win served as preparation for an upcoming weekend that head coach Chad Skorupka said is one of the biggest since he arrived at Yale last year.
But Skorupka was unwilling to dismiss the importance of the day’s match.
“If we’re playing a Wake Forest, or we’re playing a UMass, there’s always something you can work on during a match,” Skorupka said. “You can try to be a little bit more aggressive.”
Yale will host nationally ranked No. 41 Ohio State University Feb. 22 and travel to Boston College the following day. Skorupka said assistant coach Maren Haus and he already are hyping the weekend’s importance to the team.
“We have eight practices [until Feb. 22],” Skorupka said. “We’re really excited that we have a Big Ten team flying to come and play us at our courts. We’ve beaten BC 4-3 the last two years, so they’re going to be gunning for us.”
Despite the temptation to look beyond Massachusetts to the Ohio State and Boston College matches, the team made an effort to focus on the current match.
“No matter who we play, we have to respect every opponent regardless of our ranking,” Ashley Martin ’04 said.
But the ranking has transformed the Bulldogs from hunters into prey.
“With our national ranking, the mark is on us now,” Skorupka said. “We have to play like a team that is top 40 in the country.”
Yesterday afternoon, Martin completed a two-set victory at fifth singles and combined with Margaret Purcell ’04 to earn a win at third doubles.
“I worked on my serve and I tried to be consistent,” Martin said. “You have to be patient and wait for the right opportunity to be aggressive. Sometimes I go for it too early, and other times I’m too tentative. So it’s choosing the right opportunity to be aggressive and go for winners.”
Playing at third singles, Ashley’s twin sister Karlyn Martin ’04 was forced into Yale’s only third set of the day, but she ended her match with a resounding 6-1 final set. She also teamed with Susie Hiniker ’03 for a second doubles victory.
“Karlyn [Martin] came through after losing a second set,” Skorupka said. “She finished the match the way she should have.”
Captain Biffy Kaufman ’03 handed Massachusetts’ Stephanie Price a “doughnut” loss, winning 6-0, 6-0 at No. 2 singles. Likewise, Purcell, who plays No. 1 singles, cruised in her match against Sasha Edelstein.
After maintaining their focus for the match against Massachusetts, Yale may now turn its attention to the big upcoming weekend.
“I just don’t think that big scholarship schools come and play Yale that much,” Ashley Martin said. “It just shows that we’re a good team and that we can get opponents who are top-ranked. It’s important to show that Yale, and the Ivy League, can compete with other people.”
Ashley Martin said No. 39 is the highest the Elis have been nationally ranked since she arrived at Yale. The Feb. 22 weekend will prove how deserving the team is of that ranking.