It looks like the Yale women’s tennis team might be giving Serena Williams a run for her money.
The Bulldogs faced off against 21 different teams this weekend in the USTA Invitational tournament in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. On the first day of the tournament, the Bulldogs won 23 out of their 24 games. By Monday, four members of the team secured positions in the seven singles flights in the final round, and three out of Yale’s four finalists won their matches.
Opponents in the tournament included all the Ivy League teams except Princeton. According to head coach Danielle McNamara, the stiffest competition was brought by Texas A&M and N.C. State. But despite a tough effort from these two highly-ranked teams, the Elis maintained a victorious streak throughout the weekend.
“It was a good tournament,” McNamara said. “It is nice to see all of the practice pay off — it keeps us motivated.”
Vicki Brook ’12 said that the team’s practices during the fall season thus far have been very intense, but that this weekend they reaped the benefits of all the time they spend perfecting their singles and doubles games.
“The coaches told us we needed to be mentally prepared for a long weekend of playing,” Brook said. “In fact, it’s possible that the last few matches in the draw came down to mental stamina rather than physical strength.”
That strength, mental or physical, helped teammates Vicki Brook ’12 and Sarah Lederhandler ’10 in a final round when they played each other. Though Brook won at the expense of a fellow Eli, the tournament really was a win-win for the Bulldogs, McNamara said.
Since they were the only two Bulldogs to be matched against each other, they decided to duke it out on a home court in New Haven rather than stay an extra day to play in the Empire State. Brook proved victorious Monday night.
“It’s pretty cool to have won, but it was a shame to have to play a friend,” Brook said.
Lindsay Clark ’11 topped her flight for the second year in a row and Lauren Ritz ’11 won her flight as well, leaving the Bulldogs with three of seven possible flight victories.
In addition to the results of the tournament itself, captain Lilian Nguyen ’09 was impressed by her teammates’ individual improvements over the course of the weekend.
“We take the whole season to improve, especially in these tournaments,” she said. “What was exciting was everyone’s efforts to improve [now] so that we can peak in our spring season.”
The team, which only just completed its second tournament, now has a solid foundation for the upcoming five-day Intercollegiate Tennis Association East Regionals in Philadelphia. McNamara said that because tennis is such an individual sport, some players have to focus on game-time tactics, while others need to work on the technical aspects of their game.
“We have things to work on going into Regionals,” she said. “I’m anxious to get back to practice for the next 10 days straight.”
This is the attitude, Brook said, that has lead the Elis to victory so far this season. She said that the team spirit of the coaches and of her other teammates is second to none and that their undying Yale pride is like having a ninth player on the court.
“Every single one of us was out there supporting the other this weekend,” Brook said. “I feel like our support on the sidelines is one of the reasons that we won.”