The women’s tennis team hopes its second weekend of Ivy League play will be more successful than the first.
The No. 46 Bulldogs (12–5, 1–1), who lost a disappointing match to No. 28 Princeton and defeated UPenn last weekend, will now hit the road to take on unranked Cornell (11–7, 1–2) and Columbia (9–10, 0–3) as they continue in their quest toward an Ivy League championship.
Head coach Danielle McNamara said the Elis have done a lot of work in practice this week to improve their mental approach to matches. Players had said after the loss to Princeton that the pressure they put on themselves to beat the rival Tigers had cost them the match.
“I think we put a lot of stress on that match and looked at it in terms of wining an Ivy League championship instead of just taking it one match at a time,” Stevi Petrelli ’11 said. “So that’s definitely something about our perspective that we want to change this weekend.”
No. 1 singles player Stephanie Kent ’12 said the team has focused in particular on being patient, a skill which she said is important for outdoor matches.
“Inside, you usually hit really hard and flat and it’s really fast paced, but when it’s outside, you need more tools,” Kent said. “So that’s what we’ve been working on — developing a variety of shots and waiting to finish the point.”
The team also devoted practice time to doubles play, which continues to be a key to victory for the squad. The Elis have a 11–1 record in matches when they have won the doubles point.
Players said the loss to Princeton lessened the teams chances of claiming the Ivy League championship but the team remains optimistic and competitive nonetheless.
“Last year there were two champions who won even with losses on their schedules,” Petrelli said. “We can hope that Princeton will have a loss but the only thing we can really take care of are our matches, so that’s what we’re going to focus on.”
Kent also mentioned that the team has other goals it is working towards apart from winning the Ivy title.
“Winning the Ivy League would be a great stepping stone for nationals, but it’s definitely not the only thing we’re focused on,” she said.
Improving the team’s national ranking and facets of each individual’s game are some of the team’s other goals, she said.
If the team is unable to win the Ivy League championship, it could receive an at-large bid to the national tournament. At-large bids are given based on a team’s national ranking. McNamara said that while there is no hard and fast number that will ensure a bid, teams ranked in the mid-40s and above generally qualify.
McNamara said that last year the team was ranked in the mid-50s at the time of selection and just missed the cut off.
“I think if we play at the level we’re capable of playing, good things will happen,” she said.