It was a sweet homecoming for the Yale women’s tennis team, which returned to the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center this past Friday after a week in Florida.
The No. 37 Bulldogs (11–4) defeated the Quinnipiac Bobcats 7–0 at home on Friday after losing consecutive matches to No. 16 South Florida and No. 41 Florida International down south.
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“We knew it would be one of our easier matches, but I was really impressed by the way everyone took care of business,” captain Sarah Lederhandler ’10 said of the win over the Bobcats. “We did what we needed to do and didn’t stay out there any longer than we had to.”
The Elis began by winning three of three doubles matches to capture the doubles point, something the team had failed to do in their last two outings. The duo of Vicky Brook ’12 and Jessica Rhee ’10 defeated their opponents by a decisive 8–1 tally, while the pairings of Linday Clark ’11 and Elizabeth Epstein ’13 as well as Stevi Petrelli ’11 and Silla DeFilippis ’11 won their matches by scores of 8–5 and 8–4, respectively.
In singles, Brook, Rhee, Epstein, Petrelli, Clark and Lederhandler each won their matches in straight sets.
Brook played at No. 1 singles for the first time this season as the team’s usual No. 1, Stephanie Kent ’12, was out resting her shoulder in preparation for the Ivy League season. Brook’s match was one of the closer ones in the singles round.
“The girl I played came out firing on all cylinders,” she said.
Brook was able to escape with a 7–6 win in the first set before taking the second set 6–3.
The victory against Quinnipiac came after the Elis had fallen to both South Florida and Florida International in their first outdoor matches of the season. Team members said the Florida teams were tough because of their ability to return tough hits and endure long matches in the sweltering heat of the Sunshine state.
“It’s always hard going indoors to outdoors, especially when the other team’s used to playing outside all year round,” Epstein said.
Epstein added that the matches in the Ivy League season will be played outside whenever possible, so the team hopes to use what it learned in Florida to prepare for tough opponents like No. 28 Princeton and No. 38 Dartmouth.
The Ivy League season will begin for the Elis on April 2 when they take on the Tigers at 2 p.m. at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center. Princeton is the only Ivy team currently ranked higher than Yale in the ITA rankings, and team members said they have been anxiously anticipating this match since the ECAC Tournament, in which Princeton was the top seed. The Tigers were eliminated in the semifinals by Dartmouth, which fell to Yale in the finals.
“It’s tough that our Ivy league season starts out with such a difficult match,” Brook said. “At the same time, it’s so exciting to have that opportunity at the beginning of the season.”
The team is off next weekend and will be using the time to do some conditioning as well as work on individual skills.
This match will be followed by another home contest against the University of Pennsylvania on April 3 at noon.