The Yale women’s tennis team finished its fall season this past weekend at the Wildcat Invitational, posting a combined record of 15–11 over the course of the tournament.
After having played its last two events at home, the squad traveled to Evanston, Illinois, to face teams including DePaul, Furman and Northwestern over the course of the three-day invitational.
“It was a lot of fun getting in some very competitive matches in our last competition of the fall season,” Sherry Li ’17 said. “The invitational was a good mile marker for us. We all showed that we made progress since the beginning of the fall.”
The Elis opened the tournament against Furman, sweeping their opponent in singles play. Courtney Amos ’16 began the weekend with a comfortable 6–1, 6–0 win over her Paladin opponent.
Yale’s freshman class kept the momentum going, emerging undefeated after the first day of competition. Each of Yale’s four freshmen — Carol Finke ’18, Valerie Shklover ’18, Sunday Swett ’18 and Elizabeth Zordani ’18 — contributed a win for the Bulldogs.
“Our performance throughout the tournament showed that we are a top-notch program,” Finke said. “Our results this weekend will give us confidence going into the spring season.”
The Bulldogs were less successful against DePaul, however, capturing only two wins out of the five matches played against the Blue Demons. Li fended off a comeback by Rebeca Mitrea, posting a 6–3, 1–6, 6–4 victory. Finke also defeated her opponent in three sets with a 7–5, 4–6, 1–0(8) win.
In one of the most competitive matches of the tournament, Caroline Lynch ’17 played three sets against DePaul’s Jarrett Fisher. However, she could not clinch the win and suffered a narrow 7–5, 3–6, 5–7 loss.
But against their most notable opponent, the Bulldogs managed to hold their own against Northwestern in all 14 matches. The Elis went a combined 7–7 against the Big 10 team, which is consistently ranked as one of the top 20 teams in the nation.
“When you’re playing a team that’s ranked higher than you, they’ve got the target on their backs,” Swett said. “This allows you to really loosen up and swing out on your shots, because the pressure of having to win isn’t there. I think that knowing we were the underdogs not only pushed us to work harder, but made us look at the matches as challenging opportunities as opposed to expected wins.”
In singles play, the Bulldogs followed an experimental format. Instead of the traditional two-set match, play consisted of a 12-game pro-set. Despite this change, captain Hanna Yu ’15, Ree Ree Li ’16 and Amos were able to defeat their Northwestern opponents.
Li said that it was a mental challenge to go from playing a pro-set to a more customary format on consecutive days.
The doubles tandem of Sherry Li and Finke enjoyed success as well. After defeating one Northwestern pair 8–6, the duo had a decisive 8–2 victory over the Wildcat pair of Erin Larner and Brooke Rischbieth the next day.
“It was a thrill to beat Northwestern twice in doubles with Sherry,” Finke said. “I grew up following Northwestern sports, so winning those matches was extra sweet for me.”
The Bulldogs will take a brief hiatus before returning for their spring season on Jan. 16.