The Yale women’s tennis team ended its 2004 regular season this weekend with a pair of close contests. On Friday, the Elis (11-9, 6-1 Ivy) eked out a 4-3 victory over Dartmouth (14-7, 2-4) on the road. But the Bulldogs’ six-contest Ivy win streak finally came to an end with a 5-2 loss to Harvard (13-9, 6-0) Sunday.
Yale began Friday’s match in solid form, taking all three doubles matches for the first time since Feb. 28. The first doubles team of captain Karlyn Martin ’04 and Ashley Martin ’04 had the closest victory, needing a tiebreak to overcome their Big Green opponents 9-8. Aimee Kim ’07 and Rashmee Patil ’07 came up with an 8-5 win in the number two match and the third doubles team of Olivia Nix ’07 and Stephanie White ’05 won 8-6.
Reshmi Srinath ’05 won her number three singles match 6-2, 6-3, and Patil provided a dominating 6-1, 6-2 win in the fifth slot. With the two quick singles wins, the Bulldogs needed only one more victory to win the contest.
The final point came when White rebounded from an early one-set deficit to charge back and take her number six singles match. Although she lost the first set 3-6, an unfazed White came back to take the next two sets in nearly-perfect 6-0, 6-1 fashion.
“It feels great to be the clincher because you are not only winning match point for yourself but you are also winning match point for the team,” White said.
Yale’s victory over the Big Green set up Sunday’s match against the Cantabs. Both teams entered the contest undefeated in league play, and the victor would be assured at least partial ownership of the Ivy League title.
Before the match, several Yale players expressed their excitement at getting to play for the league title.
“We’re really pumped, especially since it’s Harvard,” Alford said.
The doubles matches provided the most drama of the afternoon. Harvard and Yale split the first two matches, with the third doubles combination of Nix and White besting their Crimson opponents 8-6 and Kim and Patil losing their number two match 0-8.
The first doubles match, which pitted the Martin twins in their final doubles match at Yale against No. 23 Courtney Bergman and Susanna Lingman, was the tightest competition of the day. The two teams traded breaks three times en route to reaching 5-5.
At 7-7, the Crimson duo broke Karlyn Martin’s serve to go up a break 8-7. With Bergman serving at 40-15, Ashley Martin’s forehand return went just wide to end the match.
“It was very hard to lose such a close match,” Ashley Martin said. “But they played well at the end. I don’t feel like we lost it as much as they won it from us.”
In the singles matches, No. 38 Bergman topped Alford 6-0, 6-1 in the first singles match and No. 109 Susanna Lingman defeated Karlyn Martin 6-2, 6-0 in the number two match, leaving Harvard in need of only one more victory.
But the Cantabs would have to wait for the weather. After several delays due to hail, the two teams moved inside to finish up.
Unfortunately, the Cullman Courts were no luckier for the Elis than the outside courts. Serving at match point after going down a set and a break outside, White ended a long rally on her first point indoors with a forehand into the net. Harvard’s Cindy Chu took the match 6-2, 6-2, giving the Crimson the deciding fourth point.
Yale’s wins came from Ashley Martin in the fourth singles match, winning 10-3 in a third-set tiebreak, and Patil in the fifth spot, pulling out a 6-3, 7-6 (3) straight set victory. With her victory, Patil finishes the season with a perfect 7-0 record in Ivy singles matches.
The Bulldogs could still capture a share of the Ivy Championship if Harvard loses to Dartmouth Wednesday in Hanover.
Despite the loss, players and coaches alike stressed that the year was by no means a failure.
“We’re guaranteed second in the Ivy League and we are ranked 67th in the ITA rankings,” Yale head coach Chad Skorupka said. “I’m very happy with how the season went, and we’re going to keep on working towards our goals of getting into the NCAA championships and getting the Ivy title.”
The Bulldogs graduate two seniors, Karlyn and Ashley Martin. In their four-year tenure, the Martin twins have been part of four Yale squads that have gone a combined 21-7 in the league. More importantly, in the eyes of their fellow Elis, the two players are solid leaders and dedicated teammates whose presences will be sorely missed.
“Karlyn and Ashley are such an integral part of our team,” Patil said. “I think it’s safe to say that we will all miss them next year.”
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