After a successful debut at the Cissie Leary Invitational in Philadelphia nearly a month ago, the Yale women’s tennis team will continue its season this weekend at the Bulldog Invitational in just its second tournament of the year.
Hosted by Yale, the tournament is the first home event for the Elis and will feature schools including Dartmouth, Brown, Rutgers, Pittsburgh and William & Mary.
Yale has consistently performed well at the Bulldog Invitational in past years, posting an impressive combined record of 24–12 at the tournament in 2013.
“We have been working really hard on and off the court,” team member Caroline Lynch ’17 said. “Now we are prepared and excited for our invitational, especially for the freshmen who will be playing at home for the first time.”
During the break in the schedule, three Yale players traveled to California to participate in the All-American championships last week. Captain Hanna Yu ’15 competed in the singles division while Madeleine Hamilton ’16 and Ree Ree Li ’16 paired in the doubles. But despite their best efforts, the Elis left the Golden State without a victory.
Head coach Taka Bertrand said it will be important for the team to continue practice patience and positioning, two important aspects of the game which have been emphasized in practice. Additionally, the tournament will provide the opportunity for the Bulldogs to face some of the teams they will encounter this coming spring, such as Dartmouth and Brown.
“This weekend, I think the matches will be great practice and will help us build up for the spring season,” Elizabeth Zordani ’18 said.
The tournament will be played in a hidden dual format, which resembles the dual format used in spring competition. Rather than the traditional 64 singles draw and 32 doubles draw often used in the fall season, the Bulldog Invitational will feature three dual matches over the course of the weekend, each comprised of three doubles matches and six singles matches.
Bertrand said she expects this new format to change the way the tournament feels for the players, since the last tournament the team participated in had large singles and doubles draws. According to Bertrand, this created more of an individual environment than a team environment.
“I am looking forward to seeing how we will play as a team because right now I’ve only seen players compete individually,” Bertrand said. “It will be very interesting to see how our new players react in more of a team setting.”
The Elis are excited for the team atmosphere the dual format will create. Zordani said she believes this weekend will help strengthen the team dynamic and build a support system among players.
Li agreed with her teammate.
“The dual format is by far my favorite format, since we play next to each other and can cheer each other on,” Li said.
After the Bulldog Invitational, the team will next compete at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Northeast Regionals, which begins on Oct. 16.