At the ITA Northeast Regional tournaments in the past week, the men’s and women’s tennis teams posted mixed overall results.
The men’s team played at Penn while the women competed at West Point in New York. The men showed promise but failed to advance anyone past the round of 16. The women, however, carried their momentum into New York and posted a strong showing in both singles and doubles.
“Clearly our doubles is proving to be a strength of ours and our singles depth is also being highlighted this fall,” women’s head coach Danielle McNamara said. “Lots of different people stepping up and getting big wins over the course of the first few events we’ve played. I’m very excited about our progress and anxious to keep working to improve.”
Jessie Gong ’22 and Samantha Martinelli ’21 were coming off of a historic win at the ITA All-American Championships last weekend, where they claimed the title and became the first female duo in the Ivy League to do so.
The pair were undefeated heading into the ITA Northeast Regional Tournament as a doubles team, but competed there as individuals in singles instead.
“Our coach wanted us to focus on singles since the point of regionals is to qualify for the fall tournament, which we already did by winning All-Americans,” Gong said.
In singles play, first year Rhea Shrivastava ’23 won her qualifying match to join captain Caroline Dunleavy ’21, Gong, Chelsea Kung ’23, Raissa Lou ’22 and Martinelli in the main draw. The Bulldogs performed well, with all but Gong advancing to the round of 32. A highlight included Martinelli’s whirlwind 6–0, 2–6, 7–5 win. Dunleavy, Lou and Martinelli also made it to the final 16 after Lou won a nail-biter, coming out on top 4–6, 7–6, 7–5.
Dunleavy and Martinelli then hit their stride, cruising into the quarterfinals with straight-set wins. Although Martinelli fell 1–6, 6–2, 6–2 in the quarterfinals to the fifth seed in the tournament — a player from Princeton — Dunleavy advanced to the semifinals, winning 4–6, 6–3, 6–2 over a player from Brown before losing to Zoe Howard
In doubles, Dunleavy paired up with Shrivastava, while Lou joined Kung. Both of these pairs made it to the semifinals, with Dunleavy and Shrivastava reaching the finals of the tournament. Unfortunately, the Elis lost in the finals to the duo from Penn, which had defeated the other Yale semifinalists earlier that day.
The ITA Northeast Regional was the men’s first tournament since the Dartmouth Invitational in early October, which served as a good warmup for the fall season. They faced a lot of adversity in Hanover, but many of the Bulldogs ultimately came out on top in close three-set matches.
“Regionals is always a good test to see where the team is at compared to the other top teams in the Northeast,” men’s assistant coach Alex Steinroeder said. “The level of tennis in the region and the Ivy League is very high right now, so we know that we need to continue to work hard over the next few months to be able to compete with the top teams come spring season.”
The Bulldogs thrived in both singles and doubles play. In doubles, two teams reached the round of 16. Captain Dylan King ’20 and Michael Sun ’22 lost a tight 9–7 match to the Princeton duo of Justin Barki and Bill Duo. Ryan Cheng ’20 and Cody Lin ’21 lost 8–2 against another Princeton squad.
In singles, King advanced to the round of 16 while Lin and Sun reached the round of 32. King fell to Alex Kotzen of Columbia 6–2, 6–2. Lin lost 6–0, 6–4 and Sun lost 6–3, 6–2.
Two of the three first years on the team also competed at regionals, and although both fell in the second round, they showed promise for the future. Robbie Shymansky ’23 won his first match 6–4, 6–3 before falling 7–5, 6–3 to Princeton in the subsequent match. Louis Siegler ’23 won a tight first-round match 7–6, 6–4, and then lost 6–1, 6–3 to Columbia.
“[We] are adjusting well to the program,” Siegler said. “The leadership and guidance from upperclassmen on the team has been excellent.”
The women’s tennis team will travel to Hanover to participate in the Dartmouth Invitational on Nov. 1 while the men remain in-state to play at the Connecticut State Championships.
Akshar Agarwal | email@example.com