This weekend the women’s tennis team lost all hope of winning the Ivy League Championship title when it was defeated by Harvard on Sunday. Princeton, a team with only one more win than Yale, locked up the title.
Though they fell to Harvard on Sunday, 5-2, the Bulldogs were victorious on Friday, topping Dartmouth 6-1.
The women trained last week with Dartmouth in mind, knowing the Big Green are always tough competition. Friday was a home contest and senior day, in which the team honored the four-year varsity careers of seniors Janet Kim ’09 and Lilian Nguyen ’09.
But underclassmen did their fair share on senior day, leading to a well-earned home win for the Elis and bringing their home winning streak to 20 matches.
“Senior day is always a special day for everybody on our team,” head coach Danielle McNamara said. “Every player was determined to play their absolute best for their seniors and it showed. In her singles match, which Janet unfortunately lost, you could still tell she was having fun and she really left it all out there on the court.”
Kim and Jessie Rhee ’10 and Sarah Lederhandler ’10 and Stevi Petrelli ’11 won their respective doubles matches for the doubles point. Rhee, Vicki Brook ’12, Lindsay Clark ’11, Petrelli and Lederhandler also dominated their singles matches in positions two through six, giving the Big Green a tough time against the Bulldogs.
“I thought everyone played well. Usually whenever we play Dartmouth it’s a very close and intense match. But we did a really good job,” Kim said.
But on Sunday, the Elis had a harder time holding onto their matches.
The doubles point was the first to go, when the women lost all three doubles matches. After a rough start, only Brook and Lederhandler were victors in their singles matches.
“The Harvard match was definitely disappointing but I have to give credit to Harvard,” Kim said. “They’re a strong team and everyone fought as hard as they could and unfortunately it just didn’t go our way.”
McNamara said the defeat was unexpected because Harvard was playing at full strength for one of the first times this whole year. There was a point at which it looked like the women might be able to pull out a win despite their rough start, but the moment never materialized to produce enough victories for an overall win.
The Bulldogs will not receive an automatic NCAA Tournament bid, but they still have a chance of receiving an at-large bid selection at the end of April. Today, the women will find out if their ranking after the Harvard match will be high enough to give them a shot at an at-large bid.
As for next year, Lederhandler said that the team’s loss to Harvard will give them the motivation they need to start off the fall season well.
“We’re getting in a lot of freshmen so it’ll be a new team dynamic,” she said. “Jessie and I have different strengths so it’ll be fun to be the new seniors and I’m definitely looking forward to it.”