It could have been prettier, but the Yale women’s tennis team remains unbeaten in 2005.
While things got a little too close for comfort in both of this weekend’s matches, the Elis (5-0, 0-0 Ivy) preserved their undefeated winter campaign with 4-3 wins over Kansas Friday and Penn State Sunday, both at Penn State.
The Bulldogs won their first three matches more easily, by the combined tally of 19-2. But team members said the close wins speak to strong team play.
“The fact that they were close wins only highlights the fact that they were both team efforts,” Aimee Kim ’07 said. “Everybody contributed in some way to helping the team win.”
Leading the way in this weekend’s action were Kim and captain Stephanie White ’05. Kim won all four of her matches — two singles and two doubles contests with partner Christine Alford ’07 — and White was the only other Bulldog woman to win both of her singles matches.
Action against the Jayhawks began Saturday with the Elis taking two out of three matches to earn the doubles point. The top Yale doubles team of Alford and Kim took their match, 8-5, and the third team of Reshmi Srinath ’05 and Rashmee Patil ’07 won their contest, 8-4.
The doubles point would be the deciding factor, with Yale and Kansas splitting the singles matches three apiece. Srinath, playing in the top slot, easily defeated Kansas’ Christine Skoda, 6-2, 6-1. White had a similarly easy time, beating Ashley Filberth 6-1, 6-1.
Every other singles match was hotly contested, with No. 2 Patil going down in three sets, 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, and No. 3 Alford losing a close first-set tiebreak en route to falling 7-6 (5), 6-3.
But Kim was able to finish things up at the fourth spot against Jayhawk Lauren Hommell. While Hommell was able to rebound from dropping the first set 6-1 to take the second, 4-6, Kim bounced back to take the deciding set 6-4 and secure the Yale win.
Yale started Sunday’s contest against Penn State with a sweep of the doubles matches. Alford and Kim won their contest, 8-5, White and second-team partner Olivia Nix ’07 won their match, 8-2, and the number-three team of Srinath and Patil took their match, 8-3.
While the doubles point was easier to come by Sunday, it was no less decisive, as the Elis split singles matches for the second-straight day. Kim made quick work of her four-seed opponent Katelyn BeVard, 6-3, 6-3. But Alford and Nix dropped their No. 3 and No. 6 matches, respectively, in straight sets to bring the overall team score to two points apiece.
Fortunately, two Elis managed to end up on the right side of a pair of three-set contests. White notched her second singles win in two days with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 win over Andreea Niculescu at the sixth spot.
And despite losing the first set of her match 4-6 and having to fend off multiple match points during a second-set tiebreaker, Patil was able to avenge her close loss a day earlier, coming back to take the final two sets, 7-6 (8), 6-4, over PSU’s Sarah Spence.
“Rashmee Patil played as awesome match to clinch the game against Penn State,” Alford said. “It was a really long, tough match in which she was behind, and starting to cramp up. She hung in there and came back for a big win in the third set, and it was just amazing to see.”
While the Bulldogs are proud of the tight wins, team members also recognize that there is room for improvement.
“We need to work on our fitness,” White said. “This was our first weekend where we played two matches and it showed. Playing two matches in a weekend is pretty standard, so we need to toughen up.”
The Elis will face their toughest opponent so far this year in Friday’s match with No. 66 Boston College. BC (3-4) has already defeated three Ivy League teams this winter — Columbia, Cornell and Princeton — and would undoubtedly like to top the Bulldogs as well to bring their record to .500.
But the Elis said that if they can continue their current ways, they may be able to avenge the 7-0 romp they suffered at the Eagles’ hands last spring.
“If we keep up this level of play, we will have a chance for an upset,” Patil said.