Adrian Kulesza

In its final two home contests of the season, the Yale women’s tennis team lost to Princeton and Penn by matching 6–1 tallies for its third and fourth straight defeats.

After starting Ivy League play 0–3, the Bulldogs (6–16, 0–5 Ivy) went at it again this past weekend in matches against the Tigers (17–3, 5–0) and the Quakers (9–11, 2–3). The Elis finished with eerily similar results: two 6–1 losses, marking their fourth and fifth losses in the Ivy League and their third and fourth by five points.

“The best part about our team is that it’s not about the wins or losses,” Caroline Amos ’19 said. “We always try our best, we battle until the end, we fight for ourselves, but, more importantly, we fight for our teammates, the players before us and for Yale.”

On Saturday, the Elis faced off against Princeton at home. In the doubles competition, Princeton got off to a hot start, winning both the No. 2 and No. 3 matchups 6–2 to secure the doubles point for the Tigers. The No. 1 match that featured Bulldogs Samantha Martinelli ’21 and Elizabeth Zordani ’18 was stopped short with the Yale pair trailing 3–4.

Heading into singles with a 1–0 lead, the Tigers capitalized on their early momentum, winning the next four matches. No. 3 Amy Yang ’19, No. 4 Lauren Gillinov ’21, No. 5 Amos, No. 6 Sarah Cameron ’21 all fell in straight sets.

With the Tigers up 5–0, No. 1 Martinelli triumphed over her opponent in a comeback win after dropping the first set 5–7, winning the second set 6–3, and dominating the tiebreaker after a close third set 10–2. In the final contest of the day, No. 2 Valerie Shklover put up a valiant fight against her opponent, and was just edged out 7–6, 6–4 in a competitive match. Having not lost a league match to date, Princeton is poised to claim a share of the Ivy League Championship with Harvard.

On Sunday, Yale took another swing at Ivy competition, this time against the Quakers. Celebrating a bittersweet Senior Day, the Elis came up short 6–1. Friends and family honored the careers of seniors Valerie Skhlover ’18, Elizabeth Zordani ’18 and captain Sunday Swett ’18 before the contest.

In doubles, the Elis fought hard for the point, but came up short after losing two of the three matches. To start it off, Penn claimed a 6–2 victory at No. 3. In response, the No. 1 Eli partnership of Martinelli and Zordani defeated its opponent 6–2 in what would be Zordani’s last home match. The No. 2 match went to a tiebreak, with Shklover and Yang playing for the Bulldogs and falling 7–1 to the Quakers in the tiebreaker.

With Yale already down a point, No. 1 Martinelli handily won her match 6–0, 6–2. The Quakers went on a run, though, winning the next four games against No. 5. Cameron, No. 3 Yang, No. 2 Shklover and No. 4 Amos. In the No. 4 match, Amos lost in a close tally, 6–4, 7–5. Yale’s No. 2 and No. 3 also fell with matching 6–3, 6–1 results. In the No. 6 match, the Quakers won by default to secure the victory.

“We just need to approach these last two matches with as much fight and determination as we can give,” Swett said. “If we walk off the courts knowing we did that, then it’ll be a great way to go out.”

The Bulldogs will wrap up the season on the road next weekend, with a Saturday matchup against Cornell and Sunday showdown with Columbia.

Cate Sawkins |