This weekend the women’s tennis team opened its spring season with a win against Boston College in New Haven. Taking on the same opponent last year did not yield a favorable outcome, but they were able to turn their luck around this season.
Unlike the fall season, the spring season consists of individual matches rather than tournaments, allowing the Bulldogs to focus more on physical and mental aspects of the sport in fewer games.
The women started behind, losing two of three doubles matches in the first round. But the loss of the crucial “doubles point” in the beginning of the match only fed the Elis’ desire for a win.
Out of six singles matches, three were Yale victories by the early evening. Sarah Lederhandler ’10, Janet Kim ’09 and Vicki Brook ’12 managed to own their matches, but whether or not the Blue walked away with an overall win depended completely on Stevi Petrelli ’11. Petrelli pulled through in a match tied at 3-3 and beat her Boston opponent, 4-3, leading the women to their first victory of the new year.
“I thought that overall it was a great match,” Lederhandler said. “Stevi was in so much better shape than [her opponent] and she really just stayed focused.”
The Bulldogs agreed that this victory gave them the confidence with which to continue the rest of the season towards the goal of an Ivy League Championship. But the women do not want to take the opportunity to rest on their laurels.
Lederhandler said that ideally, the team would open the match with wins. But their comeback against BC this weekend showed the fiercely competitive potential that the women have.
“I was nervous since it was my first match but I managed to pull through in the end,” Brook said. “The whole team showed persistence.”
The Bulldogs had a substantial amount of time away from each other over the course of winter break that they used to train individually and step up their game technically. While such a break could have been a detriment to the team, it seems that the customized preparation worked to the Elis’ advantage this winter.
Brook said that the down time in the off-season is important in order for the women to get the appropriate amount of rest but also continue to work hard individually so that coming back to school everyone has the right mindset.
“For me, personally, the end of the fall was a bit of a struggle,” Kim said. “So the break was really good in allowing me to focus on parts of my game that I needed to improve. It was a really good refresher and mentally I was ready to jump back into the new season.”
The Elis hope to continue their strong play in this weekend’s match against Farleigh Dickinson and St. John’s in New Haven.
“We haven’t played either school before so it’s exciting to see how well we’ll do against them,” Kim said. “We want to continue building up a good winning streak and getting into the groove.”