The women’s tennis team got back to its usual winning ways Saturday, thumping Syracuse, 7-0. The No. 44 Bulldogs (10-1) lost for the first time this season in their previous match March 19 against the University of San Diego.
Perhaps the Syracuse women had their minds on the Orangemen’s Final Four game that night, but the Elis made no concessions to such distractions as they captured every set of the match. Early wins by all three doubles squads set the tone for the match, especially the 9-7 come from behind victory for Karlyn Martin ’04 and No. 87 Biffy Kaufman ’03 at first doubles. Martin/Kaufman were down 7-4 at one point.
If Yale was pushed some for the doubles point, there was not much of a contest during the singles action. Syracuse managed to win only 25 games during the six straight-set matches, an average of about 2 a set.
“Syracuse is a pretty aggressive team,” Susie Hiniker ’03 said in an e-mail. “So they tend to have stronger doubles teams than they do singles players. Our singles play has been very strong all season, and our doubles is becoming that strong.”
Yale head coach Chad Skorupka said that the loss to San Diego made his squad more focused on getting the doubles point before heading into the singles portion of the match.
Ashley Martin ’04 bageled her opponent 6-0, 6-0 at No. 6 singles.
“We worked a lot at practice this week on being aggressive and on approach shots,” Martin said in an e-mail. “And fortunately, my opponent’s game allowed me to hit a lot of those shots.”
Martin also teamed with Margaret Purcell ’04 at No. 3 doubles for an 8-6 win. That duo, who Skorupka said has been the most consistent doubles team for Yale throughout the entire spring, never trailed during its match.
Ahead for the Elis, the only Ivy squad yet to begin league play, is a Tuesday visit to Cambridge, Mass., to face No. 18 Harvard (14-4, 2-0 Ivy).
“This match [against Syracuse] was a really good tune-up for Harvard,” Hiniker said. “[It] got us in the right mind-set of focusing and playing confidently as the Ivy season begins. This upcoming week, with Harvard, Princeton, and Penn, is our most important week of the season.”
Unfortunately, the Bulldogs may not be at full strength for at least the first of those matches, against Harvard. Skorupka said he does not know what the lineup will be for Tuesday’s match.
“We have a couple of people feeling a little sick right now,” Skorupka said in an e-mail. “On Tuesday [assistant coach] Maren [Haus] and I will sit down and see who is ready to battle Harvard.”
Yale will have at least one advantage, though. Harvard’s team is very young — freshman Courtney Bergman, who is currently No. 43 in the nation, occupies the No. 1 singles spot.
“All of their players have great experience playing top competition,” Skorupka said. “On the other hand they lost a close match to Minnesota earlier this spring which was a surprise. We just need to play a steady game and try to put the pressure on them a little and many times Harvard will feel it and get tight in the matches. I think the team [Yale] is ready to battle.”