The Yale women’s tennis team had an impressive performance last week in arguably the most important competition for the team during its fall season. A Yale doubles pair reached the finals of the 34-team Wilson/ITA Northeast Regional Championships at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center at Yale, a contest for which the team had been preparing all fall.
“Our entire fall training program was designed to peak for this tournament, and I think our preparation paid off for many people,” head coach Danielle McNamara said.
The Bulldogs saw several players advance deep in both the singles and doubles draws. Yale sent four players — Stephanie Kent ’12, Vicky Brook ’12, Stevi Petrelli ’11 and Jessica Rhee ’10 — to the round of 16 in singles. The following day, both Rhee and Kent continued on to the quarterfinals.
The doubles pair of Kent and Brook fought to make it to the finals Tuesday, winning five matches in the tournament before falling in the finals to the No. 2-seeded Bianca Aboubakare and Casey Herzberg of Brown. Brook and Kent, seeded No. 7 going into the tournament, had their best showing of the weekend in the semifinals, where they defeated the No. 1 pair, Hilary Bartlett and Taylor Marable of Princeton, 8–3 on Monday.
“They were the favorites going in,” Brook said of Bartlett and Marable. “Steph and I felt good on the court, and we just played really well, and it was really exhilarating to be out there.”
The Yale team showed its depth as all three Bulldog doubles teams advanced to the round of 16 and the four previously mentioned players reached the round of 16 for singles Oct. 25. Although the Elis’ tournament performance was highlighted by the doubles championship appearance, McNamara said the team showed throughout the tournament that the entire squad can compete at a high level.
“The tournament really showed the depth of our team,” McNamara said. “I’m looking forward to the dual season next semester, and I think that having depth and strong doubles is critical to our success as a team.”
With 34 schools competing, the ITA Regional tournament was an opportunity for the Bulldogs to get a sense of where they stand, especially in Ivy League play.
“It was really important for us to do well in this tournament because a lot of the teams we faced are ones we’re going to be playing this spring during the dual season,” Petrelli said. “We were hoping to send a message with a high level of play.”
This message was sent as the home team finished strong in the four-day tournament.
“We were representing Yale on our home courts where we train everyday, and we were intent on making sure our competition knew that,” said Rhee, one of two players who made it to the quarterfinals of the singles tournament. “There was nothing holding us back from doing the best that we were capable of doing. The rest was up to us.”