Though captain Biffy Kaufman ’03 aggravated her pulled hamstring in Friday’s match against Cornell University (3-14, 0-6 Ivy), the women’s tennis team still rolled over the Big Red and Columbia University (6-8, 2-5) the next day.
The nationally ranked No. 54 Yale team (18-3, 3-2) beat the Ithaca squad 6-1 and then breezed to a 7-0 win over the Lions Saturday. No. 81 Kaufman’s No. 1 singles 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 loss to Akane Kokubo of Cornell was the only defeat Yale suffered throughout the weekend.
But far more worrisome than the loss were the grimaces contorting Biffy’s face throughout her match. Kaufman said she first injured her hamstring last weekend against the University of Pennsylvania but had played through it.
“It started to hurt and get a lot worse against Cornell in the doubles,” Kaufman said.
Kaufman and Steph White ’05 still won 8-2 at No. 1 doubles, but singles proved to be a different story.
“I couldn’t really move,” Kaufman said. “It definitely affected me a lot, and the way I play, coming to the net a lot, requires a lot of quick movements that I wasn’t able to do on Friday. It’s the kind of thing that you can get away with in doubles, but in singles, when you have to be all over the court, it’s sometimes difficult.”
Kaufman played in the doubles portion of Saturday’s match, again teaming with White, and captured an 8-6 win at No. 1 doubles. A joint decision by Kaufman, Yale’s coaches and the team trainer had Kaufman forego her singles match against Columbia.
“I thought it was better not to play [Saturday], because Brown’s going to be a tougher match than Columbia was. ” she said. “I felt confident that we would win [against Columbia] even if I didn’t play, especially after we got the doubles point.”
Though each player had to play one spot higher, it did not seem to affect the talented Eli lineup. Margaret Purcell ’04 cruised to a 6-3, 6-1 win at No. 1 singles; Karlyn Martin ’04 kept her momentum from a 6-2, 6-4 performance the day before as she embarrassed Melissa Nguyen 6-1, 6-1. Susie Hiniker ’03, White and Ashley Martin ’04 all won in two sets as well.
Kaufman’s absence bumped Reshmi Srinath ’05 into the No. 6 singles position. Srinath had won 8-0 in a No. 7 singles exhibition match Friday, but Saturday’s match was her first Ivy League varsity appearance at No. 6.
“I wasn’t that nervous,” Srinath said. “Just really excited to be playing in the lineup. I didn’t know I was playing singles until [head coach] Chad [Skorupka] told the team after we won the doubles point, so there wasn’t much time to get nervous.”
Though Srinath said the atmosphere was definitely less intense in exhibition matches than in the real match, she said she always gives her all in the exhibition matches to stay competitive. That attitude paid off with a 6-2, 6-4 victory.
The Bulldogs have only two more matches remaining: a Wednesday contest at No. 61 Brown and a Friday hosting of Dartmouth. Kaufman expects to be fine for the team’s trip to Providence.
“Brown will be a good match,” Kaufman said. “If everyone’s healthy and keeps playing like we’ve been playing, we should win. I think Brown’s the better of the two.”
And then, hopefully, the Elis will be awarded a bid to the NCAA tournament.
“If we win our last two matches, there’s always a chance,” Kaufman said. “We’re very close to the cutoff. It’s key that we win these last two matches, because Brown’s ranked now nationally. There’s still a shot.”
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