Sam Rubin

Heading into the weekend with a 3–0 record, the Yale women’s tennis team came up winless against three Ivy League challengers in the ECAC Indoor Championships.

The Ivy League headed to Princeton, New Jersey over the weekend to compete at ECACs. The eight teams faced off in a three day tournament, with Princeton emerging the victor. After three days of competition, the No. 6 seed Bulldogs fell to 3–3 on the season after losing to Cornell, Columbia and Harvard.

“It was a great opportunity for our team to see how we measure up currently,” captain Sunday Swett ’18 said. “Getting a look at the other Ivies is only going to serve us well in prepping for April. I think everyone is feeling even more excited and motivated to put in the work now that we’ve gotten some good wins and tough matches under our belt.”

On the opening day of competition, Yale lost to No. 3 seed Cornell 4–3. The Big Red got off to any early lead after securing the doubles point with a 7–5 victory at No. 1 against Valerie Shklover ’18 and Samantha Martinelli ’21 and a 6–1 victory at No. 2 against Mimi Levine ’21 and Caroline Amos ’19.

The Bulldogs put on a show in the singles matches, though, tallying three wins to the Big Red’s two. At No. 1, Martinelli defeated her Cornell challenger 6–1, 7–6 (7–5). She is off to a hot start to her Yale career, as the rookie is one of just three Ivy League players — and the lone Bulldog — to be named in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division I Women’s National Singles Rankings of 2018, ranking 103rd in Division I.

Yale also took home wins at No. 5 and No. 6, with veterans Elizabeth Zordani ’18 and Amos defeating their opponents 6–4, 7–5 and 7–6, 6–3, respectively. Cornell’s wins at No. 2 and No. 4, both of which went to three sets, drew the battle between the Elis and Big Red level.

In the deciding match, Amy Yang ’19 played to three sets at the No. 3 spot. After being narrowly edged in the first set 7–6 (8–6), Yang rebounded to win the second set 6–0 in a shutout. In the end, Cornell prevailed, winning the third set 6–1 and the match 4–3.

“We really just went into the weekend trying to seize the opportunity given to us,” Martinelli said. “We won’t play most of those teams again until April so it was definitely a good experience to see them this early in the season and form a better game plan for the future.”

After moving to the losers bracket, Yale lost again on Saturday in a shutout against Columbia. In doubles, the Lions secured the point by clinching 6–4 and 6–2 victories over the No. 1 pair of Shklover and Martinelli and the No. 3 pair of Levine and Amos.

In the singles competition, Columbia racked up three straight wins to end the match 4–0. At No. 1, a Lion challenger defeated Martinelli 6–2, 6–3 to mark her first singles loss this year. Columbia also tallied points with victories over No. 2 Shklover and No. 4 Levine, 6–2, 6–4 and 6–0, 6–3, respectively.

In the third and final day, the Elis took on the No. 8 seed Crimson in a Sunday morning match. Harvard captured the doubles point after winning at No. 2, 6–1 and No. 3, 6–2. While Harvard won best two-out-of-three, the No. 1 match featuring Yang and Zordani was cut short in a 4–4 tie.

In singles, No. 2 Yang won her match 6–3, 6–4, but it was not enough to stop the Crimson, which tallied three singles points to end the duel. Harvard took wins at No. 5 and No. 6, winning both in straight sets, 6–2, 6–3 and 6–3, 6–4. In a close match at No. 3, Zordani succumbed to her Crimson opponent 7–5 (7–6), 6–4, narrowly losing in each set.

While Harvard won the match 4–1, the two singles matches that were cut short were leaning towards Bulldog victories. At No. 1, Shklover was up 7–5, 6–5 and at No. 4, Amos was tied 3–6, 6–3, 2–2.

“Now we need to work on finishing when we’re up in games, sets and matches,” head coach Danielle Lund McNamara said. “I loved the fight and heart our team showed and if we continue to work hard in practices and focus on the process of improvement and learning from every match then I know good things are in front if us.”

The Bulldogs head to upstate New York on Saturday to take on Boston College and Syracuse.

Cate Sawkins | cate.sawkins@yale.edu