Although the fall tennis season places a lot of emphasis on individual performance, the women’s tennis team emerged from this weekend’s tournament having demonstrated its strength as a unit.
The Bulldogs traveled to Norfolk, Va. to compete in the ITA Women’s East Regional, one of the most important tournaments of the season. Play started Friday, and the Elis performed consistently throughout the weekend.
During the team’s last tournament, the USTA Invite, several players qualified for the finals in each of their flights.The Bulldogs were confident heading into the East Regional, head coach Danielle Lund said.
“As a group, we’ve had one of our strongest fall seasons in my time here,” she said.
The team performed well at the East Regional, and five Elis qualified for the main draw in the singles tournament, Lund said. The Bulldogs had more players qualify for the main draw than did any other Ivy League team.
“I think the team did really well overall,” Jessica Rhee ’10 said. “We made a really good impression.”
This weekend’s tournament was an important one for the Bulldogs because it attracted teams from beyond the Ancient Eight.
“I think this weekend was a really exciting tournament because it’s regional, and all of our competition goes to this tournament.” Sarah Lederhandler ’10 said. “It’s nice to see what else is out there besides the Ivy League, and I think it’s awesome for the freshmen to experience it.”
Lauren Ritz ’11 and Lindsay Clark ’11, seeded eighth, advanced to the quarterfinals of the doubles tournament. They lost 8-5 in a close match to William and Mary’s Megan Moulton-Levy and Katarina Zoricic, the number one seed at the tournament and the number one doubles team in the country.
Janet Kim ’09 had the best singles performance for the Bulldogs, making it to the round of 16. Kim, the tenth seed, defeated Sarah Mayer in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1, in the round of 32. She continued to compete in the round of 16 and ultimately lost to Boston College’s Lana Krasnopolsky, seeded eighth.
Lund said she attributes the Bulldogs’ success to the team’s devotion to improving after each competition.
“After each event, we figure out what we did well, go back to the drawing board and reevaluate for the next tournament,” she said. “[Our performance] was definitely encouraging and a great learning experience.”
The Bulldogs will continue their season on Nov. 2 at Western Michigan University in Grand Rapids, Mich. Not only does the team have an optimistic outlook for the rest of the season — they have an optimistic outlook for the Yale women’s tennis program in future seasons.
“I’m really excited for the years to come, and I think our team is getting better year after year,” Lederhandler said.