Continuing the dominance that marked its fall season, the Yale women’s tennis team opened its spring campaign Sunday with a knockout victory over Delaware State.
The Bulldogs, currently ranked No. 28 in the nation, notched a 7–0 win without dropping a set in any of their matches. Held at home in the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center, the game served as important preparation for the ITA Kick-Off Weekend at the Unviersity of Mississippi this coming weekend.
Captain Elizabeth Epstein ’13 praised the team’s effort, noting especially the strength of the freshmen playing in their first spring competition at Yale.
“We were really excited about the way we performed this weekend,” she said. “Hopefully we can carry this on to Mississippi next weekend. It was great having the freshmen there, as they’ve had a huge impact on our team this year.”
Madeleine Hamilton ’16 was particularly stellar in the No. 1 spot for singles and doubles with Annie Sullivan ’14. Hamilton, who defeated her Delaware singles opponent Ksenia Kozlova 6-1, 6-3 and took the doubles match with Sullivan 8–2, said the match marked a solid start for the Bulldogs.
“As it was our first season opener, it was great to get a win,” Hamilton said. “We got a chance to work on things we’d been practicing for weeks previously and in the past season. We’ve been focusing on approaching every match with a lot of intensity and being very focused throughout, so it was good to start setting a trend for the season.”
In addition to winning the doubles with partner Hamilton, Sullivan recorded an impressive 6-0, 6-0 score at No. 4 singles over Vanja Andonova. Epstein and Ree Ree Li ’16 added to this perfect score at No. 3 doubles by defeating their opponents 8–0. Both Epstein and Li also comfortably won their singles matches, prevailing 6–2, 6–1 at No. 2 singles and 6–1, 6–1 at No. 5 singles, respectively.
Despite the number of freshmen on the team, Hamilton said they all feel well prepared for the upcoming season.
“We all feel really comfortable and there’s just a lot of excitement,” she said. “The upperclassmen are all really strong leaders and they’ve set a great example. We’re just looking forward to the season and having the chance to play these big matches.”
Epstein added that given Yale’s success in Ivy League competition over the past few years, the team is now looking to make an impact on the national stage.
“One of our biggest goals is always winning the Ivy League,” she said. “I guess now since we’ve had back-to-back Ivy League titles we’re also looking at the broader picture, which includes making the indoor nationals and going on to the Sweet 16.”
At Mississipi on Sunday, the team will be competing against the host Rebels, Vanderbilt and Illinois for a coveted spot at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships.