In its final tune-up before the Ivy League season, the Yale women’s tennis team edged out nationally ranked Boston College on the road Saturday.
The Bulldogs adjusted to the speedy rubber courts — a stark contrast to their regular hard courts — and unusual lighting in time to defeat the No. 58 Eagles 4-3. The outcome was in doubt until the day’s final battle — the No. 6 singles match between Karlyn Martin ’04 and Boston College’s Emily Hellberg. Martin defeated Hellberg 6-4, 6-4 to secure Yale’s win.
“Karlyn Martin really came through for the team,” said Andrea Goldberg ’02, Yale’s No. 1 singles player. “She was really tough mentally, coming up with big shots at the right time.”
Martin’s clutch performance epitomized Yale’s day. The Bulldogs proved their resilience as they repeatedly fought their way out of corners the Eagles kept putting them in.
Goldberg and Biffy Kaufman ’03 started the Elis off on the right foot by beating the Eagle duo of Cynthia Tow and Kiren Fernando 9-8. But the Eagles quickly countered with two doubles victories, putting Boston College ahead by one point as the teams headed into singles competition.
Goldberg dropped the first singles match 4-6, 4-6 to Tow, who is ranked 71st in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s preseason poll. But after the loss, Yale went on an impressive run, winning the second, third and fourth slots.
Margaret Purcell ’04 began the Yale comeback with an inspiring effort against Fernando. After falling to Fernando in the first set 6-1, Purcell bounced back. Purcell regrouped and became the aggressor, capturing the match by winning the next two sets 6-4, 6-3.
“The freshmen, Margaret Purcell and Karlyn Martin, came up huge,” head coach Meghan McMahon said. “They played with the kind of grit and fearlessness you would expect from a seasoned upperclassman.”
Kaufman and Susie Hiniker ’02 then took Purcell’s cue, respectively notching up a pair of two-set victories over Ruta Veitas 6-1, 6-3 and Allison Ashley 6-3, 7-6. Liz Oosterhuis ’02 lost in the fifth spot to set up Martin’s decisive match.
The win over Boston College gives Yale confidence and momentum heading into the Ivy League season. The Eagles’ loss to Yale was sandwiched between two Boston College 4-3 wins over Harvard and Dartmouth — teams that stand in the way of Yale’s title hopes.
“This match was so valuable to us because it was the last chance to see the team play before the Ivies,” McMahon said.
McMahon added that, while the lineup was not set in stone, she now has a good idea how her roster stacks up against the Ivy’s best.
For the players, it will be trial by fire this weekend when they face Pennsylvania and Princeton — the two toughest Ivy opponents.
“Based on our success on the spring trip and the immense progress I have noticed since the fall season, there is no doubt in my mind that we can win Ivies,” Purcell said.