It is a situation Susie Hiniker ’03 has been in before and the experience paid off. Nationally ranked No. 50 Yale (15-3, 4-2 Ivy) needed just one more victory to clinch its match against No. 67 Brown (13-7, 4-3), and Hiniker got it Wednesday afternoon in Rhode Island.
Hiniker won the first set 6-3 but was down 2-3 in the second before winning 4 straight games to finish her third singles win over Victoria Beck. Yale won, 5-2.
“It was close,” Hiniker said. “The girl I played is pretty streaky, and sometimes she’d hit an off streak, and I’d get a lot of free points. And then she’d get on again and win a few games in a row.”
Captain Biffy Kaufman ’03 came back strong after sitting out Saturday’s match with a hamstring injury. She won 6-1, 6-1 at No. 1 singles and 8-2 at No. 1 doubles with Steph White ’05. Hiniker said Kaufman might still be feeling the effects of her injury but was confident about her teammate’s grit.
“She feels it a little bit, but she’s very tough,” Hiniker said. “If there’s only medium pain, she’ll fight through it. I think it’s improving.”
Margaret Purcell ’04 was on the other end of an injury yesterday: her opponent at second singles, Yelena Klurfeld, suddenly defaulted the match early in the second set. The injury was a mystery to Purcell, who had won the first set 6-4 but trailed 1-2 in the second.
“Somebody said that it was her back,” said Purcell, who was informed by the Brown coach that Klurfeld was withdrawing. “It was completely out of the blue. It’s kind of odd, actually.”
Purcell said there had been a heated scoring dispute in the game immediately preceding Klurfeld’s decision to withdraw. According to Purcell, Klurfeld, who was serving, claimed the score was deuce; Purcell thought she (Purcell) had just won the game. When the line judge asked both players to list the points that each had won in the last game, Purcell said Klurfeld recounted points that were totally fabricated.
The Elis face Dartmouth (8-13, 1-5) at home today. Yale hopes that a win can still secure a bid to the NCAA tournament.
“It’d be great if we got the chance,” Purcell said. “At this point, it’s out of our hands. Even though 64 teams go, it doesn’t mean the top 64 go. A lot of times the top 50 teams don’t get in. We should [make it]–we’re definitely going to be better than some of the teams that get in. It’d be an awesome experience.”
But should they not get that chance, there is little to regret about this season.
“I feel like we won a lot of matches that were good wins,” Hiniker said. “It’s pretty good that we only ended with three losses [if Yale beats Dartmouth today], and we played a lot of very good teams that had the potential to beat us.”