The women’s tennis team went to California over spring break for an early season warm-up against some stiff West Coast competition.
Yale (7-5) had six matches on its trip — both in dual meets and the University of San Diego Invitational tournament — winning three, including an impressive 6-1 victory over Wisconsin on the final day of the trip, which was March 15. The Bulldogs also were dominant in their two other wins as they shut out both Portland and the University of California at Santa Clara 7-0. Yale’s losses were to Long Beach State 2-5, Fresno State 1-6, and the University of California at Irvine 3-4.
In the win over Wisconsin, part of the tough Big Ten conference, the Bulldogs displayed the talent and resilience needed in the upcoming Ivy League season.
“I was especially proud of that [match] because we were coming off of a disappointing loss to UC-Irvine,” captain Lauren Muehl ’01 said.
Yale came out quickly, seizing the three doubles matches. Andrea Goldberg ’02 and Biffy Kaufman ’02 highlighted the sweep with a win over the Badgers’ nationally ranked duo of April Gabler and Katie Dougherty. From there, the Bulldogs barely broke stride, winning five of six singles matches — four in straight sets. Wisconsin’s Vanessa Rauh won a grueling match over Margaret Purcell ’04 in the number two position 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (10-6).
The Elis used the trip to gauge their abilities as they prepare for the upcoming Ivy season. The win over Wisconsin improved the Elis’ record, but the Bulldogs were more encouraged by their performance against No. 29 Fresno State in the first round of the USD Invitational.
“Although we lost as a team, we gave them one of their closest matches [of the tournament],” Muehl said.
The match was destined to be close — after all, it was the Fresno State Bulldogs versus the Yale Bulldogs. Four of six singles matches went the distance, with Kaufman, Karlyn Martin ’04 and Susie Hiniker ’02 falling in the final set. Purcell endured yet another three-setter, this time prevailing over Simone Jardim 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-2.
Karlyn Martin then teamed up with her sister Ashley Martin ’04 to notch a doubles victory for the Elis, defeating Kelly Ramirez and Chantel Wiggens 8-5 in the pro-set.
The spring break trip gives the Bulldogs confidence as they close out their non-conference schedule.
Each of the top six players won at least half her matches. Kaufman, Hiniker and Liz Oosterhuis ’02 all went 4-2. Karlyn Martin went 5-1 while subbing in at the number six spot for Muehl, who is rehabilitating from a shoulder injury.
“Individually, everyone was working on her own game,” head coach Meghan McMahon said. “But there was a real sense that they were fighting as a team.”
The team’s success has led to higher expectations for the squad.
“If we took one thing away from the trip, it is that we have the talent and the depth to beat scholarship schools,” Goldberg said. “And there is no reason that we shouldn’t win the Ivies this year.”
The Bulldogs’ final tune-up before the Ivy season is March 31 at Boston College.