Courtesy of Steve Musco
Rebounding from last year’s 0–7 Ivy League record, the 4–1 Yale women’s tennis team looks to dominate the Ancient Eight standings this coming weekend against Penn and Princeton. Meanwhile, in New Haven, the Yale men’s tennis team will fight for its first victory in the league this year versus the same opponents.
The female Bulldogs (12–9, 4–1 Ivy) have been working steadily all season, but they truly kicked into gear for Ivy League play, which began on March 30 against Brown. Since then, the nine-women team has obliterated nearly every opponent, besides coming up just short against Harvard 4–3 last weekend. The Elis matchup against Penn and Princeton in the last of their two regular season competitions on April 20 and 21. On the men’s side, Yale (11–11, 0–5 Ivy) has struggled in Ivy play this season, assembling a winless conference record of 0–5. When the Elis take on Penn and Princeton this weekend, they will look to tally two wins against their competitors, who each also have losing records in the league thus far.
“I think going into next weekend we are just really looking forward to having two more matches against solid teams and seeing where those take us,” Sarah Cameron ’21 said. “We have such a great opportunity, and I think everyone is really excited.”
The Yale women’s tennis team, tied in second place with Harvard (16–6, 4–1 Ivy), seeks to win both of its matches this weekend in order to become the 2019 Ivy League Champion. First-place Princeton (16–4, 5–0 Ivy) is the current favorite, as the Tigers boast four outright wins in the past five years.
In her second stint as head coach for Yale after a brief hiatus from 2014–2016, Danielle McNamara has experience on her side. During her time with the Elis, McNamara has led the Bulldogs to five conference wins over ten seasons. Since her return, the team has fallen victim to a dead period over the past two years: the Elis went 8–15 in 2017 and 6–18 in 2018. The coming matches will be a pivotal moment in the legacy of Yale women’s tennis if McNamara can pull off a sixth conference win.
“These last two matches against Penn and Princeton will be a great test for us, as they are both strong teams,” Kathy Wang ’22 said. “We plan on facing the weekend one match at a time. We’ve put in the time and effort in practice throughout the entire year so that our hard work will pay off this weekend.”
After a successful trip and series of competitions over spring break, the Yale men’s tennis team has hit a wall with a five-game losing streak over the past three weeks.
But once conference play began, the team faced a series of nationally ranked Ivy-foes. These competitors proved detrimental to Yale’s once winning record. To open league play, the Elis narrowly lost to Brown 4–2. Ivy play continued the following weekend on the road with two blowout losses against No. 16 Columbia and Cornell, 4–0 each. Against archrival Harvard, the Bulldogs fell short 6–1, and against Dartmouth the same weekend, the team lost 4–1.
With the last two matches of league play approaching this weekend, the Elis look to record a win or two in league play. The Quakers will prove a comparable opponent on Saturday as they also have a winless record in Ivy play. The Tigers have struggled against some of the same opponents as the Elis, losing to Harvard and No. 16 Columbia as well as falling to Cornell 4–1.
“Penn is a tough team, having won ECACs earlier this year,” Ryan Cheng ’20 said. “I believe they were ranked as high as 20 or so in the country. Princeton is a team we’ve played against before as well. We had a tough 4–3 loss last time, and we’re playing shorthanded now as well, but our guys have improved a lot over the last couple of months.”
The men are set to take on Penn and Princeton on Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center, while the women travel to compete against the Quakers and Tigers at the Cordish Family Pavilion and Lenz Tennis Center in Princeton.
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