Although they had practiced together only five times before the tournament, a young women’s tennis team started with a strong showing at last weekend’s Yale Invitational.

In the first tournament of the fall season, the team faced opponents from Quinnipiac University, the University of Massachusetts and Seton Hall.

Winning 5 of 6 flights on their home courts, with a Yale player reaching the final of every flight, Yale swept A and B doubles and lost only the A singles bracket. Captain Karlyn Martin ’04 was upset 7-6, 4-6, 10-7 in the first round of A singles but went on to win the consolation draw, while standout Stephanie White ’05 fell 6-3, 6-1 in the finals. The B and C singles flights both featured all-Yale matches.ÊChristene Alford ’07 won the B flight 6-3, 6-4, while Reshmi Srinath ’05 took the C flight 6-1, 6-4.

“This tournament was to gauge where we’re at as a team,” said head coach Chad Skorupka. “We’re in position to have a good fall season.”

After last year’s 20-3 record, the second-best in the history of women’s tennis at Yale, the four recruits will join forces with the three returning varsity letter winners. With the loss of their top three players from last year, the early success of this year’s team was encouraging.

“This weekend was more of a tune-up to get the kinks out, but it was exciting,” said White. “It showed that we have some potential.”

Each player was entered in both singles and doubles flights to give the relatively young Bulldogs as much match experience as possible. All but one member of the nine-person squad played this weekend, with Olivia Nicks ’07 sidelined because of an injury. The focus for the fall season is on individual rankings — nationwide team rankings do not start until January — so establishing a good individual win/loss record now in order to qualify for the ITA Regional Championship at the end of October is key.

The women will face stronger competition in their next tournament, Skorupka said, when the Bulldogs travel to the Rice Invitational on Sept. 26.