This weekend the women’s tennis team learned the difference between playing to win and playing not to lose.
The Elis (8-7, 1-1 Ivy) took the latter approach on Friday, losing 5-2 to Penn (15-4, 3-0), but changed its attitude in time for Saturday’s game to win against Princeton (5-11, 0-3) by that same score reversed.
On Friday, though Aimee Kim ’07 and Janet Kim ’09 won their singles matches, they were the only team members to secure victories in either singles or doubles. The first-ranked doubles team, consisting of captain Olivia Nix ’07 and Rashmee Patil ’07, came the closest of the doubles teams to winning, but couldn’t quite achieve their goal, falling 9-7.
“We knew Penn was ranked higher than us, so we knew we were going to have tough matches, but I feel like we could have won it if we were tougher in the close situations,” Yale head coach Katie Granson said.
Cutter said her loss was caused by a lack of confidence. Since suffering a shoulder injury in the fall and unsuccessfully attempting to return after surgery over Thanksgiving break, Cutter has only been playing for about three weeks. Cutter played second doubles alongside Aimee Kim on Friday, her first competition since the fall.
Janet Kim said although the Bulldogs lost on Friday, the team is excellent at working hard in tight matches. But she also said that the team’s play leaves room for improvement.
Saturday’s match against Princeton was a different story and was approached with a fresh start. After Friday’s disappointment, the Bulldogs rebounded to defeat the Tigers 5-2. Both Aimee and Janet Kim again won their singles matches. Rashmee Patil ’07 and Ashley Miles ’09 also fought to win in number one and four singles, respectively, allowing the Bulldogs to secure victories in the top four singles matches. The doubles teams also stepped up their games, winning two of three matches.
Granson said she couldn’t have asked for more from her team.
“Honestly, every player, from our bench to our number one, played her best, so I’m proud of everybody,” she said.
Janet Kim has now won four straight singles matches, including one in each of the team’s first two league contests.
“I just had a sudden burst of energy and motivation to take it up a notch since it’s the start of Ivy season,” Janet Kim said.
Cutter said she was proud of Saturday’s 5-2 win as well.
“We played tentatively at Penn,” she said. “But the team used that to get pumped up for Princeton.”
Cutter added that if the team could continue to use knowledge of its past losses to motivate new victories, it will do well in the future.
Granson said the rest of the season depends on perseverance, and if the team carries over the tough attitude it donned during Saturday’s game, it should do well during Ivy season.
“The team has been working really hard, getting in a lot of court time, but this weekend it all paid off,” Aimee Kim said.