TENNIS: Bulldogs impressive over break

While most of their counterparts were resting over spring break, the men’s and women’s tennis teams were in full swing. The women completed a weekend sweep of Bryant and St. John’s Universities at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center, while the men made a strong showing at the “Battle at the Beach” tournament in Wilmington, N.C.

The women began the weekend on Friday with a contest against the Bryant Bulldogs and triumphed in decisive fashion, winning five of six singles matches and both of the completed doubles matches.

In singles, Ree Ree Li ’16 proved a key performer, recording her first-ever victory at the No. 1 spot with a 6–0, 6–3 straight sets win over Bryant’s Marion Boulin. Caroline Lynch ’17 also achieved a significant milestone, recording her first ever singles victory, winning in straight sets at the No. 6 spot. Unforeseen complications, however, prevented Yale from making a clean sweep of the match.

“We have some girls with injuries because of our long season so we changed up our lineup,” Lynch said. “It didn’t affect us though, as every girl on the team stepped up and took care of what she needed to do.”

Yale’s only defeat on the afternoon came when Amber Li ’15 retired in her match against Bryant’s Briana Leonard at the No. 4 spot.

Doubles competition proved equally favorable for the Elis, as they swept Bryant by winning both of the completed matches. The duo of Hannu Yu ’15 and Courtney Amos ’16 won a competitive 8–6 match against Bryant’s Boulin and Leonard, while the freshman pair of Lynch and Sherry Li ’17 completed a decisive 8–2 rout in their doubles contest.

“A lot of hard work is starting to pay off for me and for the team where we stepped up and played smart and aggressive on the big points,” Lynch said. “We just need to continue this form into next weekend and into the Ivy season during April.”

Sunday’s contest against St. John’s proved an even more decisive victory for the Bulldogs, as they won every match played against the Red Storm, sweeping them in both doubles and singles. In singles play, Ree Ree Li recorded another win from the No. 1 spot, while team captain Annie Sullivan ’14 returned to action with a 6–2, 6–1 straight sets win over St. John’s Anna Morozova at No. 3.

In doubles, the duo of Madeleine Hamilton ’16 and Lynch completed a perfect 8–0 sweep against the St. John’s pair of Stephanie Elegren and Puck Vlaskamp, while Sullivan and Sherry Li recorded another decisive Bulldog win, defeating Diamond Adams and Anastasia Polyakova 8–1 to cap off a triumphant weekend for Yale women’s tennis.

Yale’s men’s tennis team also experienced success over the same weekend at a very different locale as the team traveled to Wilmington to compete in the four-team “Battle at the Beach” tournament featuring UNC Wilmington, Binghamton and Central Florida. The Elis won two of their three matchups, defeating Binghamton and Central Florida, but they fell to the tournament hosts 5–2.

In their initial defeat, the Bulldogs did manage a highlight win at the No. 1 spot as Tyler Lu ’17 defeated UNC Wilmington’s Rafael Aita, the 53rd-ranked player in the nation. The matchup against the Binghamton Bearcats proved to be a bright spot for the Bulldogs, as they won four of their six singles matches and swept the completed doubles matchups, which were capped by a close-fought 8–7 win by the pair of Alex Hagermoser ’17 and Daniel Faierman ’15. Finally, in perhaps their most dramatic contest of the weekend, the Elis narrowly defeated No. 51 Central Florida 4–3. After six singles matchups, the teams were level with three victories each. However, doubles proved decisive for the Bulldogs, as Lu and Martin Svenning ’16 produced a key win in the first doubles match, while the duo of Hagermoser and Faierman came through in the clutch again, recording an 8–3 win that drove the final dagger into Central Florida.

“Transitioning to outdoor tennis was really tough, but everyone on the team competed very well over the past week.” Lu said. “Overall, being able to play Wilmington close and beat two good teams in Binghamton and UCF, it was a solid weekend.”

Zachary Krumholz ’15 echoed Lu’s optimism, saying that he was pleased with the team’s execution and adding that the experience of the tournament gives the team confidence headed into the Ivy League season.

Ivy tennis play begins in early April as both teams take on Princeton in two weeks.

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