Women’s tennis defeats UMass

For the talent-loaded women’s tennis team, it’s only a matter of time.

The Elis (5-6) took a step in the right direction with their 5-2 win against UMass (5-6). The victory came after a tough spring break in which the Bulldogs faced strong competition and finished 1-4. But team members said they were looking toward better results in the rest of the spring, and this weekend’s match is hopefully just the beginning of what is to come.

Although the Bulldogs lost No. 1 doubles and No. 1 and No. 2 singles to the Minutemen, the lower portion of their ladder was able to pull through for the win. Rashmee Patil ’07 lost in the No. 1 spot to Michele Spiess, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2. Aimee Kim ’07, playing No. 2 singles, was also defeated in the third set by Masha Pozar, 2-6, 7-5, 6-3.

While team members said they were unsure of UMass’ skill level going into the match, they saw it as important preparation for the Ivy competition in the weeks to come.

“We needed every person to focus on their matches to pull out the wins, and I think we did that pretty well,” said Janet Kim ’09, who won her matches at No. 3 singles, 6-2, 6-0, and No. 3 doubles, 8-6.

Team members said the Bulldogs’ doubles performance was a key factor in the win. Since the three doubles matches take place first, Christine Alford ’07 said coming out on top in the doubles matches can give the team a mental edge when it begins to play singles.

“We want to go into singles already one up,” she said. “We’ve worked so hard on our doubles, improving our communication and combinations. It’s a slap in the face when we lose the doubles point.”

Alford played No. 2 doubles with Ashley Miles ’09 and won easily, 8-2. Their victory is testimony to the hard work the duo has put in during the past weeks, as they only started playing together over spring break.

“At first, the chemistry wasn’t quite there,” Alford said. “That little spark was missing. But today everything was great.”

Chemistry was also working in favor of Lindsey Dashiell ’08 and Janet Kim ’09 at the No. 3 spot. Dashiell said the pair has been working on cutting down unforced errors and improving first serve percentage.

The Bulldogs said they have seen a definite shift in the team’s morale since spring break.

“The end is here, but this is what we’re here for — the next eight games,” Alford said. “We’re pumping ourselves up, and the vibe on the team is really changing. Hopefully that changes our performances.”

The Bulldogs will face their first Ivy opponents in two weeks with matches against the University of Pennsylvania on April 7 and Princeton University on April 8. Team members said Penn, in particular, has proved to be tough competition this year, but the league in general will also be imposing.

“Every game we have to show up to play,” Alford said. “The whole conference has really strengthened.”

The Bulldogs will have the next two weeks match-free –­­ which can either be a challenge or a blessing.

“The difference between us and the other Ivies is what we do with this time frame,” Janet Kim said. “Everyone is going to try to get in extra hitting and extra practices to prepare ourselves.”

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