The Yale women’s tennis team, unbeaten in the nascent spring season, fell against likewise undefeated Boston College on Friday.
Yale (2–1, 0–0 Ivy) welcomed Boston College (7–0, 0–0 ACC) to New Haven in a showdown of two highly talented teams. The matches were especially intense, given that only one team could leave of the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center with its perfect record intact. While the Bulldogs fell to the Eagles 5–2, the match featured many positive moments. Yale grabbed a victory in one of the doubles matchups along with two of the singles.
“The BC match was a good opportunity to see where we stand and learn what we really need to be working on moving forward in this season,” Caroline Dunleavy ’21 said. “They came in with a lot of confidence coming off a long win streak, and I think we struggled off the bat to match their belief and energy. We are ready to build on the match and are looking forward to a great ECAC tournament next weekend. Although it was a tough loss, we know that we are just beginning the season and have a lot of positives to come.”
The No.1 doubles team for Yale, composed of Samantha Martinelli ’21 and Jessie Gong ’22, fell 6–2 to the No.1 Boston College doubles team of Yufei Long and Kylie Wilcox. However, the No.2 doubles team of fantastic first years Chelsea Kung ’23 and Rena Lin ’23 eased past the team of Elene Tsokilauri and Loren Haukova 6–3 to level the match score.
The doubles point came down to the third match, with Dunleavy and Rhea Shrivastava ’23 taking on Natasha Irani and Hailey Wilcox. The No.3 Yale team fought hard but fell 6–4, and the Eagles claimed the doubles point and momentum.
“Everyone on the team competed really well on Friday,” Shrivastava said. “BC has a lot of strong players, and all of the matches were really close and could’ve really gone either way. There were definitely positives to take away from the match, and we are looking forward to building on those and continuing to compete well as our season progresses.”
Having conceded the doubles, the Elis came out firing to secure the singles. Long, Boston College’s No.1 singles player, battled against Martinelli and took the first set 6–1. This early setback did not deter the resilient junior, and she fought hard in the second despite eventually succumbing 6–4.
Kylie Wilcox was strong in the No.2 spot and defeated Kung 6–1, 6–3. With the Elis down two matches, Dunleavy worked to stymie the Eagles’ momentum. After losing the first set 6–2, the Darien native pulled out a gutsy performance to take the next two sets 6–1, 6–3. Trailing by only a match, the Bulldogs were back within striking distance.
Lin gave it her all against a tough opponent, Boston College’s Laura Lopez in the No. 4 singles spot, but fell 7–5, 4–6, 3–6. Tsokilauri took down Raissa Lou ’22 at the No.5 spot 7–5, 6–2, a result which put the match out of reach for Yale. With the result decided, Shrivastava showed tremendous will in her No.6 matchup. The first year was tremendous and grinded out a hard-fought 6–4, 2–6, 6–4 victory. While the Elis fell 5–2, they demonstrated consummate effort throughout.
“I thought that Friday’s match was very helpful in giving us an understanding of exactly what we need to work on in competitive situations,” head coach Danielle McNamara said. “We were obviously disappointed with the team results but are very anxious to get back on the practice courts and work on the things we need to heading into ECAC‘s.”
Yale next plays in the ECAC Tournament in New York next weekend.
Eamonn Smith | firstname.lastname@example.org
This story has been updated to include a comment from head coach Danielle McNamara.