A new head coach, a new assistant coach, five new freshmen and five months later, the Yale women’s tennis team is ready to begin another season.
The Bulldogs kick off their 2005 fall season this weekend when they host the two-day Yale Fall Invitational. The tournament, held annually at the beginning of the fall season, will be larger this year, with Syracuse, Quinnipiac, Dartmouth and Columbia among the schools slated to compete.
“I’m very excited, probably more so than in years past,” captain Olivia Nix ’07 said. “[New head coach Katie Granson has] been awesome as a coach, and this is the year we’re really going to go for Ivies.”
The tournament is an individual competition, with both singles and doubles, and there will be four flights contested. Of the 11 women on the Yale squad, all but two will play this weekend. Lindsey Dashiell ’08 will be out for at least the first half of the fall season with bulging disks in her back, although she has started light hitting again. Christine Alford ’07 will also be out.
The Elis will be full of new faces this weekend. Following Chad Skorupka’s departure to become the head coach of the Wake Forest women’s tennis team, Granson, last year’s assistant coach, was named interim head coach July 18. On Aug. 31, the vacant assistant coaching spot was filled by Danielle Lund.
Granson, a graduate of Duke, co-captained the Blue Devils in 2003 to a midseason No. 1 ranking, a school record for dual match victories, and an appearance in the NCAA Final Four. Lund is a former professional tennis player who has achieved WTA world rankings in both singles and doubles.
“Both of them were great tennis players themselves and they have great work ethic,” Nix said. “They push us hard and have high expectations of us, which motivates us. Everyone gets along with them and we’re really excited for the season.”
Aside from the coaches, the Bulldogs also bring five rookies to the courts on Saturday. Janet Kim ’09 said things have been going smoothly so far.
“Practices have been really good,” Janet Kim ’09 said. “Everyone’s on the same page, since we have a new coach and a new assistant coach — it’s sort of a reconstruction.”
The team had its first official practice last Wednesday. Before that, the team had unofficial captain’s practices for a week without the coaches.
Several team members said they did not play much over the summer, and that this weekend offers a chance to get back in the swing of things.
“We haven’t been practicing that much,” Lilian Nguyen ’09 said. “I just want to go out there, try hard, and hopefully it’ll be fun.”