The results from this past weekend’s Ivy series do not accurately represent the effort put forth by the women’s tennis team.
The Bulldogs split a pair of matches, losing 7-0 to Harvard at home but rebounding with a 5-2 win on the road against Dartmouth.
“I was worried that our morale would be down [after the loss to Harvard],” captain Liz Oosterhuis ’02 said. “but we really put in a great team effort on Sunday and turned things around to end the season on a great note.”
At Dartmouth’s Boss/Gordon Tennis Center, the Eli women rolled over the Big Green in doubles, winning in the second and third spots to clinch the doubles point.
The aggressive assault carried over into singles where the Bulldogs overpowered Dartmouth. In first singles, Margaret Purcell ’04 wore down Sarita Yardi with a barrage of groundstrokes en route to a 6-2, 6-3 win. At No. 2, Biffy Kaufman ’03 used impeccable footwork and crisp returns to earn her team-leading 16th win.
Also winning in straight sets was Susie Hiniker ’03 who mowed over Arden Fredeking in a 6-1, 6-3 match. Hiniker applied constant pressure, as she controlled the match from the baseline and made occasional forays into the net. In the No. 5 hole, Oosterhuis added to the win total with a methodical drubbing of Catherine Crandall, 6-0, 6-2.
It was a first-rate victory for the Bulldogs who made great progress this year, carving themselves a spot in the upper echelon of teams in the Ivy League.
“Overall finishing in 3rd place in the Ivy League was a success,” Yale head coach Chad Skorupka said. “This year belonged to Penn who won the Ivy’s for the second year in a row.”
The Dartmouth match marked the last regular season game for the Bulldogs who send off two top-roster players in Andrea Goldberg ’02 and Oosterhuis.
“It really hasn’t hit me that that’s all over,” said Oosterhuis.
In their final home game of the year the Bulldogs faced off against Ivy nemesis Harvard last Friday. Things looked favorable for the Bulldogs as the No. 59 Crimson were weakened by injuries and the subsequent absences of two starting singles players.
Yale seemed to have the edge in the doubles matches, leading in all three at one point, but early indications proved deceptive as the Cantab women launched an impressive comeback to take two of the three doubles contests for a one-point lead heading into the singles matches.
The lone bright spot on the day was provided by twins Ashley and Karlyn Martin ’04 who eeked out a 9-8 victory over Sarah McGinty and Ashley Hyotte.
“Losing the doubles point gave Harvard the momentum,” said Goldberg. “If we had won the point it would have been a different match.”
The Bulldogs tried to shake off the stunning doubles upset but were swept away by the depth of Harvard’s team. Nationally ranked teammates No. 68 Susanna Lingman and No. 78 Alexis Martire were tough-as-nails opponents for Purcell and Kaufman, respectively. The two Crimson women wrapped up convincing straight set victories in under an hour to put Harvard up 3-0.
Though Yale was in the hole, it still had the upper-hand as seasoned Bulldog veterans served up against Harvard’s patchwork lineup in the third through sixth singles spots. But the Crimson would not be denied, as they battled for every point to notch three straight-set victories.
In No. 6 singles, Karlyn Martin played feistily into the dusk, trying to salvage a win for Yale, and was leading in the third set 5-4. Her opponent, Hyotte, grinded out three successive games to get a come-from-behind 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 win.
Though Yale was once again plagued by its inability to close out games, the Bulldogs were pleased with their performance and tipped their hats to their formidable Crimson counterparts.
“If things had gone our way a little more, we may have beaten them,” said Hiniker. “This just fires us up for next year, though.”
Skorupka is already laying out plans to improve on this year’s performance.
“We have upgraded our out-of-conference schedule a little bit by playing at Wake Forest and having Ohio State come to New Haven,” he said. “These are two teams who have played in the NCAA team tournament.”
As the upcoming season slowly takes focus, the departing seniors will carry the memory of their last home game.
“Even though we lost, it was special to be out there, playing on our home courts for the last time, with the support of all our friends and family,” said Goldberg.