The women’s tennis team split its away matches at Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania this weekend.
Nationally ranked No. 54 Yale (11-3, 1-2 Ivy) beat No. 70 Princeton (7-7, 0-3) Friday before falling to No. 44 Penn (14-4, 5-0) Saturday. Yale beat Princeton 5-2 and lost to Penn by the same score.
Head coach Chad Skorupka scrambled his doubles lineup against the Tigers, placing Stephanie White ’05 at No. 1 doubles with captain Biffy Kaufman ’03 and switching Karlyn Martin ’04 from No. 1 to No. 2, where she joined Susie Hiniker ’03. The move worked: Martin/Hiniker and No. 3 doubles Margaret Purcell ’04/Ashley Martin ’04 both won, earning Yale the doubles point.
“It was the same lineup we used when we beat Princeton in the ECAC championship [this fall],” Skorupka said. “Last year, we beat them in the fall, and then they beat us in the spring. We definitely didn’t want that to happen again.”
Kaufman singled out Hiniker for a terrific weekend, only losing her doubles match against Penn. It was her No. 3 singles victory that clinched the victory over Princeton.
Kaufman herself did not fare as well against some of the Ivy’s toughest competition. Princeton’s Kavitha Krishnamurthy, the Ivy League Player of the Year in 2000, defeated No. 81 Kaufman in straight sets. So did No. 20 Alice Pirsu of Penn. Pirsu was last season’s Player of the Year.
“I felt like I could have won,” Kaufman said of her match against Krishnamurthy. “But I think that I was a little bit of an underdog.”
Skorupka was quick to recognize the talent of the two players who topped Kaufman this weekend.
“Kavitha [Krishnamurthy] is a world-class competitor and world-class player,” he said. “And she was ‘on’ on Friday. Alice Pursu is a 23 or 24 year old Junior, and she played Fed Cup for the Romanian National Team. Alice Pirsu is a phenonemnal player.”
Pirsu has played in Wimbledon, and both the U.S. and French Open. In 1998, she was ranked No. 207 in the world by the WTA.
Kaufman was not sure how much her two losses would count against her in terms of qualifying for the individual NCAA tournament.
“I feel like I would have had to beat one of the players this weekend [to make the tournament cut],” she said. “But I don’t know exactly how that works.”
Only Hiniker and Steph White ’05 were victorious against the Quakers. Hiniker won 6-2, 2-6, 6-2, while White prevailed 6-0, 6-3. Hiniker bested Raluca Ciulei, who was playing her last home match of her career, according to Skorupka.
“Susie [Hiniker] played a great match,” Skorupka said. “You could just see the determination in Susie’s play, especially knowing how much the other girl [Ciulei] must have wanted to win her last match.”
Karlyn Martin won both of her first sets this weekend, but she had more difficulty in the later sets. She won 6-0, 6-4 against Princeton but lost 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 to Penn’s Shelah Chao. Martin said she had focused on getting into her rhythm early this weekend and not giving up early mistakes.
“[Chao] started being more aggressive,” Martin said. “She started dictating points more. She just got on a hot streak.”
The Bulldogs host Boston University Tuesday.
“Saturday was a difficult loss to take to Penn,” Skorupka said. “If we win the rest of our matches, I think we’ll be on the bubble [of making the team NCAAs]. Four are home, which is good for us. If we play a little bit more confident in those next matches, we’ve got a good chance to do that. I think we’re on track.”