Though Ivy League play for the women’s tennis team will conclude this weekend with a match against No. 58 Brown (16–7, 4–2 Ivy), the team’s season may not be over quite yet.
When national rankings came out on Tuesday, the Elis (15–6, 4–2), who lost a close match on Sunday to then-No. 56 Harvard, fell only two spots from 46 to 48, keeping their NCAA tournament hopes alive.
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“I wasn’t really sure what to expect after the results from the weekend,” head coach Danielle McNamara said. “I think we still have a chance to get into the tournament, and I was pleasantly surprised that we didn’t drop too much.”
Still, she emphasized that the team is not concerned with its ranking but instead with its performance on the court.
“Our main focus right now is on Brown and what we have to do to beat them and then worrying about the postseason after that,” McNamara said.
This emphasis on thinking about only those elements of the game which can be controlled has been the Bulldogs’ mantra since a loss to No. 33 Princeton (20–5, 7–0) on April 2 effectively extinguished their hopes of an Ivy title.
Looking specifically at this weekend’s match against the Bears, McNamara said the team has two primary goals.
The first, taking the doubles point, has been a goal in every match the Bulldogs have played this year. While the team lost the doubles point to Harvard this past Sunday, they won all six doubles matches they played against Cornell and Columbia the weekend prior. McNamara said she’d like to see her team replicate those performances against Brown.
McNamara also said that focusing on small, specific goals instead of the match as a whole is a technique that will help the team succeed.
“Instead of getting wrapped up in the score or the moment or the pressure, we want to just be really focusing on what our performance objectives are for the match,” she said.
Focusing may be hard for the team’s senior members, Jessica Rhee ’10 and captain Sarah Lederhandler ’10, who will play their last home match Saturday unless the Elis play at home in the NCAA tournament.
Lederhandler said she doesn’t want this to change her or her teammates’ approaches.
“I’ve enjoyed being on the team a lot and plan to go out and enjoy my last match,” she said.
The Elis will take the court on Saturday at noon at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center.