A telling sign of the women’s tennis team’s dominance of the singles events at the annual Yale Invitational was the fact that most of the finals looked like intrasquad scrimmages.
Yale players won all four singles flights of the tournament, as three of the four finals featured matches between Bulldog teammates. Players from Seton Hall University, Quinnipiac University, and the University of Massachusetts also competed in the tournament, which was held at the Connecticut Tennis Center.
All-Ivy first team honoree Margaret Purcell ’04 won the top flight of the competition, defeating team captain Biffy Kaufman ’03 in an intensely played match, 6-4, 7-5. Last spring, Purcell and Kaufman played Nos. 1 and 2 singles, respectively, as the Bulldogs finished third in the Ivy League.
“Margaret had a very good match against Biffy,” said second-year Yale head coach Chad Skorupka. “I thought the match brought out the best in both of them. There were some great points, and they both seemed to rise to the occasion.”
In the only singles final that featured a player from another school, Karlyn Martin ’04 defeated Lorell Zamot of Seton Hall, 6-3, 6-2, to earn the Flight B championship.
In the third flight, Ashley Martin ’04 defeated Reshmi Srinath ’05, 6-3, 6-1, despite a late-match injury scare as Martin fell awkwardly on her right ankle. Rekha Natrajan ’04 won the final flight, narrowly beating freshman Juliette Vartikar, 5-7, 6-4 (8).
While the Bulldogs were generally pleased with their performance in the singles matches, the experience of playing each other dampened the excitement of Sunday morning play.
“It’s hard to play teammates in competitive play, but it is nice to get the matches in,” said Ashley Martin.
The Invitational also demonstrated that if the Bulldogs are to contend for a league championship in the spring, they will likely profit greatly from their depth. Yale returns the core of a team that hopes to compete with traditional powerhouses Penn and Harvard.
Even UMass, which won the Atlantic 10 championship last year and qualified for the NCAA team tournament, seemed overmatched in singles play by the Bulldogs.
The doubles flights were slightly more disappointing for the Bulldogs, as both finals ended in close defeats for Yale. The two doubles teams — each featuring players who had completed early-morning singles matches only minutes earlier — seemed somewhat fatigued as they fell to pairs from Seton Hall and UMass.
Despite a hard-fought comeback, Purcell and Kaufman were upended by Kim Barfuss and Nicole Cerccone of Seton Hall, 8-5, in the top flight of the doubles tournament. In the second flight, Erin Burke and Lora Spagnuolo of UMass defeated Srinath and Vartikar, 8-5.
“We need to work on our doubles. There were a couple of new combinations out there today. But the fall is about having new players, so that hopefully we can get three solid teams together when dual-match play begins in the spring,” said Skorupka.
The Bulldogs will next compete in the Cissie Leary Invitational hosted by the University of Pennsylvania this weekend.