The No. 29 women’s tennis team (16–4, 1–1 Ivy League) was upended by the defending Ivy champions, the No. 56 Princeton Tigers, on Saturday as the Bulldogs split their opening match-ups for the Ivy season. The team had previously beaten Penn, 5–2, in Philadelphia on Friday. Their opening weekend performance puts the Bulldogs at fifth place in the Ivy League. Dartmouth, Harvard and Brown currently sit in a three-way tie for first place in the League.
“I think everyone was disappointed with the outcome of the Princeton match on Saturday,” Elizabeth Epstein ’13 said. “I think our mental state as well as the switch to outdoor play made a huge difference in the match results.”
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The Quakers featured the highest nationally ranked singles player in the Ancient Eight, No. 23 Connie Hsu, but they offered little challenge overall.
In doubles play, the duo of Kim Szokol ’14 and Blair Seideman ’14 took the first match 8–3 in the No. 3 spot. Hsu and her partner Alexa Ely responded with a closely contested 9–7 victory over Vicky Brook ’12 and Lindsay Clark ’11 at the No. 1 spot. Stephanie Kent ’12 and Annie Sullivan ’14 triumphed at No. 2, 8–3, to give Yale the doubles point.
Next, the Bulldogs started off singles with a quick 6–1, 6–0 win by Sullivan at the No. 5 position. After Hsu’s victory at the No. 1 spot narrowed Yale’s lead to one point, Epstein, Seideman and Kent pulled away with three straight wins to secure the victory.
Captain Stevi Petrelli ’11 had to retire from her match at No. 6 spot due to a shoulder injury.
The Bulldogs’ then travelled to Princeton for a rematch of the February ECAC title game, in which Yale defeated Princeton for its third straight title.
In that match, the Bulldogs reeled off four singles victories after losing the doubles point. On Saturday, though, the Elis were unable to overcome the Tigers’ early lead.
“We need to focus on finishing strong and staying aggressive,” Petrelli said. “There were a lot of matches we were ahead in on Saturday and we let the momentum get away from us.”
Seideman and Szokol defeated Alexis Krakaris and Katherine Flanigan 8–2 to put the Bulldogs ahead in doubles play. But Princeton responded with a pair of 8–6 victories to secure the doubles point.
Szokol, who played in Petrelli’s usual spot, cruised to a 6–0, 6–1 singles victory and tied the match at 1–1. Seideman kept the Bulldogs within striking distance after her 6–3, 6–0 victory tied the match again.
However, the team was unable to win another singles match. Epstein fell in straight sets while Brook dropped two straight sets after winning the first one 6–1.
“We have no room for error in the rest of the regular season,” Petrelli said. “The silver lining of the situation is that we still control our destiny and can still win an Ivy championship.”
Columbia and Cornell, both still seeking their first Ivy victories, will face off against Yale this weekend at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center.