The Yale women’s tennis team suffered two more losses to close out its season with a winless 0–7 season record for the first time in recent memory.
The Bulldogs (6–18, 0–7 Ivy) fell to Cornell (7–13, 1–6) in a 5–2 loss. After starting off brightly with a win in the doubles point, they proceeded to suffer four consecutive singles losses on Cornell’s home courts. On Sunday, the Elis played Columbia (12–8, 4–3 Ivy) in their last match of the 2017–18 season. The away game resulted in a 6–1 loss against the Lions and condemned the Bulldogs to an eighth-place finish in the cellar of the Ancient Eight.
“We have gone through a lot together this year,” Caroline Amos ’19 said. “But in the end it really only made us stronger and closer as a team. We value hard work and team cohesiveness over everything and take confidence from those aspects.”
In Saturday’s match against Cornell, the Bulldogs started strongly, clinching the doubles point in the deciding third match. The No. 2 pairing of Valerie Shklover ’18 and Amy Yang ’19 won their match 6–3 to open up the competition. At No. 1, Samantha Martinelli ’21 and Elizabeth Zordani ’18 fell 6–4 to force a third match to decide who took home the doubles point. In the rubber match, the No. 3 pairing of Amos and captain Sunday Swett ’18 proved victorious, forcing a tiebreak and winning it 7–6(3) to put the Elis up 1–0.
However, the tide turned in Cornell’s favor, as it won the next four singles matches. No. 2 Shklover, No. 6 Sarah Cameron ’21 and No. 5 Amos all fell in straight sets. No. 1 Martinelli came up short as well in her match against the Cornell captain by a score of 6–3, 7–5. The win capped a 4–1 tally and secured the victory for the Big Red. Still, the matches continued as No. 4 Zordani roared back to claim a three-set victory after being completely shut out in the first set 0–6, with wins of 7–5, 2–2 (1) in the final two sets. Meanwhile, No. 3 Yang forced her match to a third-set tiebreaker but ultimately came up short by a final score of 4–6, 6–2, 10–5.
On Sunday, the women took one last swing at securing an Ivy win, but were halted by Columbia in a 6–1 final. The Lions started off the competition hot, sweeping the doubles matches all with a score of 6–4.
“Our team faced a lot of ups and downs,” Swett said. “And many of them were unexpected and definitely made it harder for us to achieve the kind of results we knew we were capable of this season. Regardless of what our record is, I am so proud of how far this team has come, and how we’ve grown as a program beyond just the wins and losses.”
In singles, Yale suffered three consecutive losses to draw the match to a swift conclusion in Columbia’s favor. No. 4 Zordani fell 6–3, 6–1, No. 6 Cameron succumbed 6–3, 6–1 and No. 5 Amos came up short 6–1, 6–3.
After the Lions secured a 4–0 victory, the other matches still continued. No. 1 Martinelli won her match in a third-set tiebreaker, for a final score of 6–3, 2–6, 10–8. No. 2 Shklover and No. 3 Yang each lost in close matches, with Shklover’s finishing 6–0, 7–4 and Yang tallying a 6–4, 7–5 loss.
The match marked the end of the 2017–18 season for the Bulldogs, and the weekend saw the conclusion of all of the women’s tennis Ivy match-ups. Princeton took home the championship, with an unbeaten 7–0 record. Yale finished in last at 0–7, just behind Cornell’s 1–6 record.
The Bulldogs’ last Ivy Championship came in 2013, when they took home a share of the Ivy League title for the third year in a row. This season marks the first time the Elis have failed to secure a single win in the league in recent memory.
“We had a lot of obstacles to overcome this year,” Martinelli said. “But we made it through stronger and more motivated for next year. Next year, we’ll focus on keeping that team spirit and fight alive, and I think that will lead us to better results in the future.”
Cate Sawkins | firstname.lastname@example.org