The Yale women’s tennis team kicked off its official start to the spring season this week with two head-to-head matches. First, the Elis trounced Fordham 7–0 before stumbling against Boston College 5–2 to split the weekend.
In a home match Friday night, the Bulldogs (1–1, 0–0 Ivy) made short work of the Rams (0–1, 0–0 Patriot), with new doubles pairings helping the team sweep all seven points. Despite a strong start, the Elis were unable to carry their momentum to Massachusetts and fell to the Eagles (5–0, 0–0 ACC), a traditionally fearsome rival.
“The matches were a great start for our season, and our team is unified and cohesive as a group, which translated well to our matches,” Samantha Martinelli ’21 said. “Although not all of the results went our way, I’m excited to build on them and see what the rest of the season has in store.”
The Bulldogs set the tone against Fordham right out of the gate by winning two doubles points with 6–1 victories in the No. 1 and No. 2 positions. Head coach Danielle McNamara tried out new pairings that yielded great success, with Jessie Gong ’22 and Martinelli joining forces, and Caroline Dunleavy ’21 and Raissa Lou ’22 competing together. Caroline Amos ’19 and Kathy Wang ’22 won 7–5 in a hard-fought match to extend the Bulldogs’ lead in the afternoon.
The Bulldogs similarly dominated singles from start to finish. Martinelli overcame Fordham’s nationally-ranked No 1. Arina Taluyenko and secured the first set 7–5 before closing out the second set 6–3 to give the Bulldogs a 2–0 lead. Afterwards, the Bulldogs won every set, with Dunleavy, Lauren Gillinov ’21, Gong, Lou and Wang all dominating their opponents in straight sets to sweep the Rams 7–0.
Traditionally a formidable opponent for the Bulldogs, Boston College took five points in its match against the Elis, two fewer than it won during the previous spring. The lopsided score belied the closeness of the day’s individual matchups, beginning with several close doubles points.
Gong and Martinelli put the Elis in an excellent position with a 6–4 victory to seize the first double point over No. 1 Jackie Urbinati and Kylie Wilcox. Amos and Wang managed to fight their way to a tiebreaker but ended up short. With the score at one all, all eyes were on the No. 2 matchup, in which Dunleavy and Lou ended up falling 7–5 in a tight set to give the Eagles an early 1–0 lead.
The team looked to rally in the singles matches, and Martinelli did just that when she won the No. 1 spot in just two sets. The Bulldogs split the next two, with Dunleavy losing in straights and Gong winning 6–0, 6–4. With the score at two all, the Elis lost the next three, with the final two losses coming in deciding sets.
“We should take a lot of confidence from the match because even though we didn’t win, all the matches were really close, and we were right there competing with an ACC team, which is encouraging,” Lou said.
The weekend’s dual matches kicked off a packed spring season, with two four-day tournaments in February followed by head-to-head matches that will stretch into April. Yale will next face Drexel at noon on Feb. 2.
Alex Reedy | email@example.com .