Along with the rackets and green Wilson balls, the 57th ranked women’s tennis team brings a finely-honed mixture of focus, determination and confidence to the courts for every match. This was more than evident in the 4-3 victory over No. 67 Boston College (2-2).
Yale, which raised its record to 3-0, opened strong by sweeping the three doubles matches. Andrea Goldberg ’02 and Biffy Kaufman ’03 defeated the pair of Ruta Veitas and Nida Waseem 8-4. Playing out of the No. 2 spot, twins Ashley and Karlyn Martin ’04 sealed the doubles point by overpowering Alison Ashley and Emily Yeomans 8-5. Captain Liz Oosterhuis ’02 and Susie Hiniker ’02 wrapped up the doubles round with an 8-6 win.
It seemed like the Bulldogs were cruising to another victory, but Yale head coach Chad Skorupka knew that the Eagles would put up a strong front heading into singles play. He said he had mentally prepared his team all week by setting up focused practices in anticipation of the game. After doubles closed out, he grounded his troops and told them not to presuppose a win.
Though the Bulldogs heeded the advice of their coach and came out swinging in the next round, they faced an unyielding Boston College club. Goldberg, who did not play last week due to an arm injury, lost to Ashley 6-2, 6-2. Kaufman had an easier time against Veitas and defeated her 6-3, 6-1.
Magaret Purcell ’04, who has played each of the top three spots this year, faced a hard-hitting opponent in Waseem. Down 5-2 in the first set, Purcell quickly learned to counter Waseem’s powerful forehand and deep shots and clawed her way back to win the match in straight sets 7-5, 6-3.
“I just kept myself focused and realized I needed to cut down my unforced errors in order to stay in the match,” said Purcell. “Fortunately it worked, and I think coming from behind mentally frustrated her.”
Up by 3-1, Yale needed only one more point to keep their winning streak alive. They proceeded to drop the next two matches, however, as Hiniker and Stephanie White ’05 both lost in third set tie-breakers.
Unbeknown to her, the game rested on Oosterhuis’s shoulders. Leading 3-0 in the second after winning the first set 6-2, Oosterhuis tightened up and Yeomans took advantage, extending the match into the third set.
“I realized my match was the deciding point for the team,” said Oosterhuis. “There was no doubt in my mind that I was going to win.”
Oosterhuis opened the third set leading 3-0, but this time she was determined not to lose ground, eventually clinching the game, set and match on her serve.
“It was nice having the home crowd and team cheering for her. That always helps,” Skorukpa said. “I think Liz will remember this match for a long time. This was by far the best and thrilling match of the day.”
Taking the win in stride, Oosterhuis said, “It was a nice feeling, but in the back of my mind I knew I should have won in the second set.”
The Bulldogs host unranked Seton Hall (1-4) today at 2:30 p.m. Goldberg, who is rehabbing her arm, is expected to sit out.