Women’s tennis splits in the Empire State

Strong doubles play, dramatic three-set matches and ultimately inconsistent results. It was a typical weekend for the women’s tennis team.

The Bulldogs (9-8, 2-2 Ivy) continued to find mixed outcomes in New York City with their heartbreaking 4-3 loss to Columbia (9-7, 3-2) on Friday and then a decisive 6-1 win against Cornell (8-6, 2-3) in Ithaca, N.Y., on Saturday.

Team members said they were especially disappointed by their match against the Lions because it could have easily gone in their favor. After winning the doubles point thanks to Janet Kim ’09 and Lindsey Dashiell’s ’08 nerve-wracking 10-8 win in the No. 3 spot, the Bulldogs said they were hopeful for victory.

The Bulldogs needed wins from both No. 6 Lilian Nguyen ’09 and No. 5 captain Olivia Nix ’07 to clinch the victory. Both matches came to the bitter end, but only Nguyen ended up on top with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 win. Nix lost in the third set 3-6, 6-4, 3-6.

“Right when I finished, I saw our captain lose and the Columbia team jump up,” Nguyen said. “It was a pretty disappointing loss.”

But the Elis said they eventually fell short because of questionable calls from the referees and the poor sportsmanship of the Columbia players.

Moving on to Ithaca, Nix said the team was determined to post a deserved victory against the Big Red.

“I think everyone was really fired up after losing the Columbia match, because it was so tight, and we didn’t leave with the best feeling,” she said.

The Bulldogs’ loss to the Lions certainly fueled the their performances. The team swept the Big Red in the doubles matches and lost only one singles match. Christina Cutter ’09, who has been sidelined with a shoulder injury, made her first appearance playing singles this spring and won her match against Elizabeth Googe, 6-3, 6-1.

Nix has been hampered by a back injury, but she hopes to return in full force next weekend. Nix has been playing another role for the team — the third coach.

“She provides leadership all around whether she’s on the court or off,” Cutter said. “She’s on all the courts coaching us, providing moral support.”

Despite the inconsistent results, team members said there were still some positive aspects to the road trip. Janet Kim continued to be a mainstay for the team, easily beating Kasia Preneta of Cornell 6-1, 6-2.

The Bulldogs’ doubles game continues to improve as well and has become a foundation for their success. Nix said winning the doubles point provides strong morale for the team as it enters into the singles matches. It also means that the team only has to win three of the singles matches, which Nix said makes a big difference.

Up next, the Bulldogs will return home to take on No. 15 Harvard (15-6, 4-0) this Friday and Dartmouth (4-13, 0-4) on Saturday. Cutter said the Crimson are the team to beat this season in the Ivy League.

Despite the stiff competition, the Elis are hopeful for an upset. Nix said a victory against the Crimson could be possible if the whole team across the board gives their strongest performances.

“We have the talent. We just need the heart to win,” Cutter said.

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