After winning the ECAC Team Championships two weeks ago, the women’s tennis team enters its mandatory seven-week practice moratorium on a lower note following the ITA Regional Championships.
Though No. 9 seed captain Biffy Kaufman ’03 was upset in the second round by unseeded Shelah Chao of the University of Pennsylvania, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, there were bright spots for the Eli women. Karlyn Martin ’04, after qualifying for the main draw, won her first two main draw matches, including a victory over No. 25 seed Vanessa Bagnato of Richmond.
“[Martin] really shined in this tournament,” head coach Chad Skorupka said. “That’s what this tournament is all about: a person like Karlyn who plays No. 4 for our team to play the No. 1 seed from Richmond — who is seeded — and beat her. She’s really come around, she’s not just a doubles specialist.”
Skorupka was also pleased with Steph White’s ’05 effort in a loss to Niagra University’s Milena Matijevic, 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (1). White forced a tie-breaker in the third set after spotting her opponent a 5-2 lead.
Karlyn Martin teamed with sister Ashley ’04 to defeat their first round opponents from Fordham, 8-1. The twins lost 8-3 to the No. 9 seeded doubles squad from Temple. Margaret Purcell ’04, seeded No. 17 in the singles main draw, faced a similar situation after defeating Kari Olsen of William and Mary, 7-6 (4), 6-3, following a first round bye. Purcell lost her next match 6-2, 6-2 to the No. 2 seed, Harvard’s Courtney Bergman.
The doubles team of Kaufman and White, seeded No. 9, advanced to the round of 16 by defeating two Ivy League opponents. Kaufman and White beat Brown’s Victoria Beck and Rachel Williams 8-6 in the first round before defeating Columbia’s Lucia Aniello and Shelly Mittal 8-5. The No. 3 doubles squad from Marshall stopped the Elis’ run with an 8-4 victory in the third round.
“Biffy [Kaufman] and Steph [White] just came out a little bit short,” Skorupka said. “I don’t think [the Marshall team] beat us, we just made too many unforced errors. [Kaufman and White] played very high level doubles up until that point.”
Minimizing unforced errors is something Kaufman hopes she and her team can improve on before the spring season.
“Consistency is always something important to work on,” Kaufman said. “I think that we can work more on our doubles and keep up our fitness and endurance for the spring.”
Assistant coach Maren Haus had been running early morning sprint workouts on Tuesday and Thursday to improve the Bulldogs’ quickness on the court. Skorupka was pleased with the job Haus did in getting the team in shape, but was disappointed that both coaches will have to forego further interaction with the team until Jan. 15, in accordance with new Ivy League athletics regulations that mandate a seven-week moratorium on official varsity practices.
“As far as the seven-week period is concerned, I disagree with the thought of no time with the team, as opposed to a more limited interaction with them,” Skorupka said. “I don’t have a problem really cutting back in our off-season. I don’t disagree in where [the rule is] coming from, but doing absolutely nothing — I disagree with that.”
Skorupka suggested that allowing teams to meet officially for three or four hours per week in the off-season would be a better compromise. As it stands now, he hopes the team will continue to train on their own.
“We can’t make them do anything,” Skorupka said. “It has to come from within.”