“In tennis, there’s always something to work on,” women’s tennis head coach Danielle Lund said. “It’s an ongoing process, to be sure — but I really like where we are right now.”
Lund’s pride in her team is not in the least strange or surprising. Especially not after yesterday’s phenomenal victory, when the Bulldogs (6-7, 1-0 Ivy) steamrollered the University of Connecticut (4-5) 7-0, stopping the Huskies’ four-meeting winning streak cold and finishing off their own non-conference season with a bang before entering the thick of Ivy League competition.
Yesterday’s contest was the first of the spring season in which the Elis did not drop a single match — or, for that matter, a single set. Every singles competitor managed a straight-set win, with No. 1 singles player Janet Kim ’09 neatly disposing of her opponent, 6-1, 6-1. Some matches, like that of No. 6 singles player Lindsey Dashiell ’08, were closer; Dashiell barely edged out a win in her first set with an 8-6 victory in the tiebreaker, but in the second set she triumphed with a comparatively comfortable 6-4.
“I think the girls were extremely well prepared and played very confidently,” Lund said. “We were just a notch better than UConn at every position.”
Not only did the Elis take all six singles matches, but they also crushed the Huskies in doubles, winning at No. 1, 2 and 3 and earning themselves the doubles point for the meeting.
And though they also won the point last Saturday against Brown, the doubles victories were much more satisfying this time around, Christine Alford ’07 said.
“On Saturday, we didn’t win [the doubles point] playing the way we wanted to play,” she said. “Our opponents had forced us to play how they wanted to play. It’s good we still managed to beat them, but it’s nicer to dominate with your own game, and that’s what we did today.”
This weekend, the Bulldogs will face off against Penn (11-4, 1-0) and Princeton (8-6, 0-1), two of the Ivy League’s powerhouses. The Quakers — “the team to beat right now,” in Lund’s words — are currently ranked first in the Ivy League poll. That’s not surprising, given their 6-1 second-place finish in the Ancient Eight last year. The Tigers are a threat in their own right, having tied the Bulldogs for third in the 2005-’06 season.
The Elis will travel to Philadelphia for the Friday afternoon match and then head to New Jersey for Saturday’s contest, leaving behind the New Haven courts after just one game at home. This weekend will be the most difficult in all the Ivy matches, captain Olivia Nix ’07 said.
“I think both Penn and Princeton are going to end up at the top of the conference, so it’ll be great to see where we stand in the league,” she said. “Christine [Alford] has said before that the title is kind of open to anyone, and so I think this weekend, it’ll come down to whoever’s playing better on that given day and whoever wants it more.”