The women’s tennis team (10-2, 0-1 Ivy) dropped its first Ivy League match of the season in Cambridge Monday, losing 6-1 to nationally ranked No. 18 Harvard (13-3, 3-0).
No. 54 Yale, dropping from No. 44 this past week in spite of a 7-0 win over Syracuse, lost all three doubles matches to start the match. In the singles portion of play, the second through sixth positions went to Harvard in straight sets.
Captain Biffy Kaufman ’03, playing at first singles, picked up Yale’s only win in a tight three-set match.
No. 81 Kaufman edged No. 42 Courtney Bergman, winning 6-3, 5-7, 1-0 (10-6).
“I think it helps sometimes being the underdog,” Kaufman said. “I made her move a lot, because moving is not her strongest thing. I tried to be really aggressive; all the pressure was on her.”
The pressure seemed to reach Bergman, who is a sophomore.
“She definitely got flustered,” Kaufman said. “She’s used to people sitting at the baseline where she can dictate the point and I was coming to the net and putting pressure on her.”
Bergman said being the favorite did not put any extra pressure on her, but she did agree that her emotions may have inhibited her play.
“It’s just so frustrating,” Bergman said. “When you think you’re playing so poorly it’s really hard not to get aggravated. They [her emotions] definitely could have gotten in the way.”
Though reluctant to make excuses for the self-described “slump” Bergman says she has been in, Bergman did admit to medical difficulties.
“My movement has been bad,” she said. “I’m playing with stress fractures, so that’s not really aiding my movement. I’m not getting set up for balls and working the points.”
Kaufman, who had played second singles up until Yale’s March 19 loss to No. 69 University of San Diego, is now 14-2 in singles competition.
“That win today for Biffy boosts her chances tremendously for an at-large bid to the NCAA singles tournament,” head coach Chad Skorupka said.
Kaufman, however, was more concerned with the team’s chances of making the 64-school NCAA tournament.
“If we win all of our matches we still have a good shot at it,” she said. “This would be the first time we made team NCAAs.”
Skorupka said that he thought his squad was on the bubble of making the tournament. In terms of winning an Ivy League championship, however, he was less optimistic.
“In the two years I’ve been in the Ivy League, I haven’t seen a stronger team yet,” Skorupka said in reference to Harvard. “They’re the team to beat. It’s theirs to fumble. They’d have to lose three or four Ivy games. Is that realistic? No.”
Margaret Purcell ’04 was also impressed with the Crimson. She teamed with Ashley Martin ’04 at third doubles in a close 8-6 loss that started poorly for Purcell/Martin, who lost their first three games.
“We got off to a slow start,” Purcell said. “It took us a while because they were hitting really hard and we’re not used to teams hitting as hard as they did. All of them [Harvard’s players] are like that. We’re [Yale] more of a steady team.”
Purcell, who said she has not been feeling well lately, fell 6-3, 6-3 at second singles.
The Elis will travel to No. 70 Princeton on Friday and No. 44 University of Pennsylvania on Saturday. Penn has won the past two Ivy League championships, and last season the Quakers and Tigers both topped Yale 4-3.
“We have two good teams coming up this weekend,” Skorupka said. “And we lost to them both last season, so we’ve got some payback.”