The women’s tennis team opened its winter season by scorching Boston College and Boston University over the weekend: The No. 48 Bulldogs defeated both schools 5–2.
On the road in Massachusetts, the Elis took both singles and doubles, winning eight of 12 singles matches and five of six doubles matches over the weekend.
“The thing that stands out to me is probably our doubles — something we’ve made a big priority, ” head coach Danielle McNamara said. “It will be one of the difference makers as to how we do as a team.”
In Weymouth, Mass., on Saturday, the team won four of six singles matches against Boston College. Vicky Brook ’12 trumped Katharine Attwell 6–1, 6–1 in the first seed round, and No. 4 singles Stevi Petrelli ’11 bested Katarina Gajic 6–2, 7–6 (7). Completing the winner’s board for the Elis, No. 5 singles Lindsay Clark ’11 won 6–1, 6–1, and No. 6 singles Sarah Lederhandler ’10 won 6–1, 6–4.
The Bulldogs also dominated the doubles competition against the Eagles, winning two of three matches to steal the doubles point. Stephanie Kent ’12 and Jessica Rhee ’10 squeezed past opponents Attwell and Jacquelline Mabatah with a 9–8 victory. The other Eli duo of Petrelli and Lederhandler scored an easy 8–2 win against Gajic and Ina Kauppila.
Sunday, the team went in to Boston to challenge No. 61 Boston University. The Elis swept the three doubles matches and took four of the six singles matches.
“Winning the doubles point is a huge advantage going into the singles matches,” Lederhandler said. “ Because you only need to win three singles matches as opposed to four if you lose the doubles point.”
In doubles competition, Brook and Clark beat Grancine Whu and Monika Mical 8–4. Kent and Rhee stole a tough 8–7 (6) win against Stefanie Nunic and Santini, and Bulldogs Petrelli and Lederhandler earned a 8–2 win against Jessica Linero and Khosla.
In both the No. 1 and No. 3 seeds, Kent and Brook won when their opponents retired in the second and first set, respectively. At No. 4 singles, Petrelli crushed Petra Santini 6–1, 6–3, while at the No. 6 seed Lederhandler beat Inayat Khosla 6–2, 6–2.
“We knew we were the tougher team in both matches, so it was a matter of bearing down and playing the way we wanted to play,” Lederhandler said.
Next weekend, the team will face tougher competition when Yale travels to North Carolina for the qualifying tournament for the National Team Indoors Championship. Last year, the Elis did not make the cut for this tournament, but this year the Bulldogs are eager for the challenge.
“To play Duke next weekend will be possibly one of the most exciting matches for us this season,” Brook said. “To get the opportunity to play the best team in the country is exhilarating, and we have absolutely nothing to lose.”
There the team will face No. 1 ranked Duke, who took the National Championship last year. Depending on the outcome of that match, the Bulldogs will face either Wake Forest or Virginia Commonwealth University. If they win both of those matches, they will advance to the National Team Indoors Championship to be held in February.