At this weekend’s Bulldog Invitational, the women’s tennis team proved it has not lost its competitive edge.
A total of four teams, including Yale, competed in the tournament held at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center. At their spring season opener, the Elis demonstrated strength in singles all three days while showing some signs of struggling in doubles during the last two days of the Invitational.
On Sunday, the final day of the tournament, the No. 30 Elis played doubles against unranked Auburn and singles against No. 22 Tulsa.
Despite completing only four practices before the weekend, the team tied Tulsa, 3-3, in singles on Sunday. Although the Bulldogs gave three matches away, Annie Sullivan ’14, Hanna Yu ’15 and Sarah Guzick ’13 played effectively to even out the score. In the doubles matches against Auburn, the Bulldogs secured two wins and conceded two defeats. Vicky Brook ’12 and Hanna Yu ’15 kicked off the first match and lost 8-2, and Sullivan and Amber Li ’15 failed to turn the tide with a 7-2 (8-7 tiebreaker) loss.
However, the Bulldogs rebounded with two consecutive wins in the third and fourth matches. Stephanie Kent ’12 and Elizabeth Epstein ’13 took out their respective opponents with a score of 8-2, and the duo of Guzick and Blair Seideman ’14 closed the match with an impressive 8-1 run. (Seideman is a staff photographer for the News.)
“Auburn was definitely a strong team and has very talented doubles,” Brook said. “It was a tough match.”
Danielle McNamara, head coach of women’s tennis, said she was satisfied with the results given the fact that it was the first match weekend of the season. She added that the Invitational demonstrated the team’s potential for the upcoming schedule.
The team will now travel to Ann Arbor, Mich. to take on Notre Dame for the season’s ITA kick-off. Brook said next week’s match will be extremely important for the team since it could gauge how it might fare in the ITA rankings. As the team plans a more intense practice schedule, Brook added that the upcoming ITA competition will be the perfect chance to see where the team stands on the national level.
McNamara said she has her mind set on achieving two goals for this season: strengthening her players’ mentality and improving in the doubles.
“From this spring season, we want to make sure that we focus on the mentality of the players,” McNamara said. “The mental part of the game is very crucial to the players, so we want to focus on the minds of each player. Moreover, since we have demonstrated some strength in the singles, we want to especially focus on the doubles, which turns out to be a bit weaker compared to the singles.”
The Bulldogs will take on Notre Dame on Jan. 28. Depending on the outcome, the team will either face Michigan or Maryland as part of the ITA kick-off tournament.