Two weeks ago the doubles team of Vicky Brook ’12 and Lindsay Clark ’11 went further than anybody else in the history of the Yale women’s tennis team. On Thursday, they went one step further.
Making Yale’s first-ever appearance in the ITA National Indoor Championship on Thursday, Brook and Clark won the first round match of the 16-team tournament on Thursday, 8–4, against Armstrong Atlantic State University before falling to a team from Alabama, 4–8. After winning the ITA Northeast Regional Championship doubles title two weeks ago, Brook and Clark had been the first Yale team to ever qualify for the ITA National Indoor Championship, held annually at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.
“It’s quite an accomplishment and I know how hard they worked to get [to the National Championship],” head coach Danielle McNamara said.
Clark also saw the national tournament as an opportunity to prove the strength of the women’s tennis team against traditional powerhouses.
“We were very excited, this was a huge opportunity for us,” Clark said. “We are always looking to take the program as a whole to the next level. Any Ivy League school that competes against schools like Duke, Florida and USC, we see it as an opportunity to prove ourselves.”
The Bulldogs advanced to the quarterfinals after defeating Barbora Krtickova and Alida Muller-Wehlau of Armstrong Atlantic State University, 8–4.
“Our team played solidly and they handled their nerves exceptionally well,” McNamara said. “Winning is a huge plus too.”
Unfortunately for Brook and Clark, their play ended the next day with a 4–8 loss in the quarterfinals to Alabama’s Alexa Guarachi and Courtney McLane, who were the tournament’s fourth seed. Guarachi and McLane are also second in the nation in the ITA preseason doubles ranking. Brook and Clark are ranked 37th.
Brook said that the Alabama team’s reputation is not a fluke.
“They were just too good,” Brook said. “They attacked and rushed us in a way we aren’t used to.”
But McNamara thinks that the loss against Alabama showed the duo that they still have room for improvement.
Two days after their defeat to Alabama, Brook and Clark rejoined their team to defeat the University of Buffalo, 7–0, on Saturday. The pair won their doubles match 8–2 and Brook also competed in singles, winning 6–2, 6–3.
The Bulldogs will now head into a two-month offseason before beginning its campaign for the Ivy League title in January. Winning the title would guarantee the team a spot in the NCAA national tournament.
“Overall we had a really good fall,” McNamara said. “We played some tougher competition than in previous years. We’ll sit down with the team and evaluate the fall season see what they did well and what they need to improve. I’m definitely excited to see how we do in the spring.”
Clark agreed with McNamara.
“[The goal] for the team as a whole is winning the Ivy League and getting a national rank as high as possible,” Clark said. “My personal goal would be to qualify for the NCAA tournament and be named All-American. As a senior, it’s my last shot.”
Last season, the team finished third in the Ivy League and was ranked as high as 24th in the country, the highest ranking ever for Yale, before ending the season ranked 44th with a 16–6 record.