W. TENNIS | Miami proves too hot for Bulldogs

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Photo by Graham Harboe.

After taking down Stony Brook and Boston University two weeks ago, the No. 21 Yale women’s tennis team (10–3, 0–0 Ivy) traveled to Miami this weekend and kept rolling against Florida International University (4–12, 0–0 Sun Belt) before the No. 12 Miami (Florida) Hurricanes (10–1, 3–0 ACC) brought the Bulldogs’ three-match winning streak to a halt.

Although the Elis intended to play No. 20 Mississippi in Miami on March 15, that match was cancelled due to incessant rain. The cancellation deprived the Bulldogs of the opportunity to test themselves against the team one spot above them in the national rankings. Additionally, the Rebels boast the nation’s No. 12 player, Kristi Boxx.

The rain also affected Friday’s match against FIU. Due to bad conditions throughout the morning, the doubles point was foregone to expedite the match once the courts became playable. Had the teams tied at three through their six singles matches, they would have played the doubles point. As it was, the Bulldogs emerged 4–2 winners.

At Nos. 1, 3, and 4, the Bulldogs cruised to a 3–0 advantage, with Elizabeth Epstein ’13, Blair Seideman ’14 and Vicky Brook ’12, respectively, stroking their ways to straight-set wins. (Seideman is a staff photographer for the News.) Annie Sullivan ’14 closed out the Yale victory with a straight-set success of her own at No. 5.

Saturday brought the Elis’ most difficult test this season. The No. 12 Miami Hurricanes were in top form, having routed No. 10 Baylor on March 15. The Bulldogs could not avert their storm.

“I was really impressed with Miami,” head coach Danielle McNamara said. “They were the best team we’ve played this year.”

Yale players said that the Hurricanes emerged victorious by playing the big points well and coming out on top of the close matches.

Although Yale possesses higher-ranked doubles partnerships, the Hurricanes began the match by ending Yale’s 11-match doubles winning streak. Yet several of the singles matches were tight. Sullivan continued her fine form with a win at No. 6, Seideman took a set off her opponent at No. 4 and at No. 5, Brook fell narrowly, 7–6, 6–3. The team said it took a lot of positives from its loss, particularly in advance of upcoming conference play.

“Even though we lost to Miami 6–1, if we come out with that much energy, drive, and intensity, considering that we definitely had the strongest schedule this year among the Ivies, we’ll be in a really good position,” captain Steph Kent ’12 said.

Due to a debilitating virus, Kent was precluded from playing in Yale’s victory over FIU and was admittedly struggling for energy against Miami. Considering Kent’s standout performances this season when healthy — she was 11–1 going into the match — the entire team felt the effect of her illness.

Now near the conclusion of its nonconference schedule, the Bulldogs stand 10–3 and have jumped significantly in the national rankings. Two of the team’s three losses came against top-ranked teams, No. 18 Michigan and No. 12 Miami, and the team notched victories over the likes of No. 19 Notre Dame.

“Other than our loss to Syracuse, we only lost to top-15 teams, and we had our upset over Notre Dame, which is top-20,” Seideman said. “Our good performance in the last few months will give us the confidence we need for the Ivy League.”

The Bulldogs take the court next on March 28 with a home match against Quinnipiac at 5 p.m.

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