The Yale women’s tennis team extended its win streak to five matches this weekend with strong performances by the junior class. Tina Jiang ’17 was the only Bulldog to win both a single and doubles match, while Sherry Li ’17 and Caroline Lynch ’17 extended a streak of their own by winning their sixth doubles match in a row.
Defeating Stony Brook 5–2 on Saturday, the Bulldogs moved to 5–5 on the season as they head into spring break. Fresh off two 7–0 victories, Yale continued its impressive stretch of play, losing just six of the 19 sets completed on Saturday.
“This weekend was great for us as a team,” Lynch said. “Our team is definitely gaining confidence as the season progresses and we’re learning to capitalize on opportunities in important points.”
Madeleine Hamilton ’16 and Jiang won their top-ranked doubles match 6–2 over Elizabeth Tsvetkov and Yana Nikolaeva, and Lynch and Li won their doubles match 6–3 over Becky Shtilkind and Devanshi Bhimjiyani to secure the doubles point for Yale. Lynch and Li’s personal win streak began against Syracuse in early February, and when the team returns to action on Sunday, it will have been more than a month since the duo lost a match.
“Playing doubles with one of my fellow classmates has been a lot of fun,” Li said. “I’m glad that our compatibility off the court has transferred on court so well in the past few matches.”
After starting the season 0–5 against strong competition in January, the Bulldogs found themselves in need of a positive spark.
Captain Ree Ree Li ’16 explained that following the winless start, the team has shifted their focus from simply winning to improving their play and “enjoying the process.”
“There were many factors that contributed to this change, including individual players really stepping up and taking ownership of their game, but I think one of the biggest factors has been the increase of intensity and the focus on strategy in practices,” Li said. “And this shift has allowed us to compete with the right mindset and have fun while doing it.”
That shift is working for the team, which has not lost since early February and has found comfort at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center, where the team is now 5–1.
Multiple players have noted the amount of positivity surrounding the team lately, adding how that has translated into improved performance on the court.
“I think that a key factor came from our success in cheering and supporting each other both on and off the court,” Elizabeth Zordani ’18 said. “The cheering was especially important in the last couple matches because it helped the players close out their tough matches.”
There was more than one close match on Saturday for the Bulldogs. After losing her first set 3–6, Courtney Amos ’16 fought her way back with a 7–5 win in the second set before clinching the match with a 6–4 third set victory.
Amy Yang ’19 also lost her first set, but was able to battle back and force a third set, which she was winning before play was interrupted due to Yale’s team victory.
“We’re on an upward trend and our focus is to be peaking in April in time for our Ivy League matches,” said Lynch, with conference play set to begin on April 1 versus Penn.
Yale’s win streak will next be tested in Florida on Sunday when the team faces South Florida. While in Florida, the Bulldogs will also face the South Alabama and Florida International, before returning home on March 25.