The Yale men’s and women’s tennis teams both had important matches this weekend, with the men participating in the ECAC Indoor Championships and the women playing Marshall and Indiana.
The Yale women’s team (6–2, 0–0 Ivy) squared off at home against Marshall (6–3, 0–0 C-USA) and Indiana (6–4, 0–0 Big 10), looking to build off its tremendous performance at the ECAC Indoor Championship. Meanwhile, the men’s squad (2–3, 0–0 Ivy) travelled to Ithaca, New York, where it came up against Dartmouth (9–2, 0–0 Ivy) and Brown (7–2, 0–0 Ivy).
“Our team was happy with our performance this weekend and how we bounced back from ECACs,” captain and junior Caroline Dunleavy ’21 said. “We built on our win from Marshall to have a really solid win over a strong Indiana team yesterday, which gives us a lot of confidence going into the Blue-Gray tournament this coming weekend. We are proud of our energy and fight this weekend and will look to continue that in our upcoming matches.”
The women came out strong against Marshall, riding the momentum of some tremendous individual efforts. Samantha Martinelli ’21 kicked things off in the singles, besting her opponent Daniela Dankanych 6-4, 6-4. Chelsea Kung ’23 followed suit at the No. 2 spot, blowing past Anna Smith 6–2, 6–1. Rena Lin ’23 won in dramatic fashion at the No. 4 spot, grinding to a 2–6, 6–2, 6–3 victory. Jessie Gong ’22 clinched the singles point with a 6–2, 6–1 domination of Liz Stefancic.
In the doubles, Yale was similarly excellent. Kung and Lin took care of business at the No. 2 spot, defeating their opponents 6–2. To seal both the doubles point and the match, Dunleavy and Rhea Shrivastava ’23 took down the Marshall team of Smith and Madison Riley 6–2. In the end, Yale was victorious 5–2.
“Having the opportunity to play two really strong out of conference teams this weekend and to get to more wins under our belt really helped build our confidence after the tough loss last weekend,” Shrivastava said. “It was also really nice to get more match practice in going into our next tournament in Alabama, where we will be playing several top teams and having the confidence after this weekend is really going to help us.”
Meanwhile, the men entered the ECAC Indoor Championship hungry for a win following the recent loss to Minnesota. The team’s first match was against Dartmouth, a tough Ivy opponent. In the singles, Yale struggled but showed great fight. Both Michael Sun ’22 and Cody Lin ’21 mounted comebacks to force third sets, but the other four matches finished first, giving the singles point to the Big Green.
Yale showed true grit in the doubles, refusing to let the loss of the singles point hurt its morale. Sun and Arnav Dhingra ’22 defeated Charlie Broom and Pierce Widdecombe 6–4 before Ryan Cheng ’20 and Lin sealed the point at the No. 2 spot with a 6–2 win over Peter Conklin and Casey Ross. Despite the heroics in the doubles, Yale fell 1–4 in the overall match.
The women’s next match came against Indiana with the Bulldogs brimming with confidence. This head-to-head matchup proved to be a barnburner, as Yale narrowly eked out a 4–3 win. Martinelli kept her streak of brilliant play alive with a 6–1, 6–2 victory against Caitlin Bernard. Like she has for most of the season, Kung kept the momentum strong with a tough 3–6, 6–1, 6–2 win against Annabelle Andrinopoulos. Lin once again put the icing on the cake, taking the singles point with a calculated 6–2, 6–4 victory over Jelly Bozovic.
The match was won in the doubles, as Yale took the two decisive matches. Kung and Lin bested Bernard and Alexandra Staiculescu 6–3 to set up the all-important deciding match at the No. 3 spot. Never ones to succumb to pressure, Dunleavy and clutched out the overall match with a 6–2 victory. Yale walked away 4–3 winners.
Despite the loss to Dartmouth, Yale still had a chance to remain in the competition with a fixture against Brown. The doubles point did not go the way that the Bulldogs would have hoped, as the Elis were defeated handily in the first two matches. The Bears seized the doubles point with this early dominance.
But Yale started out incredibly strong in the singles, winning three of the six matches. Sun defeated Jacob Walker 6–4, 6–4 at the No. 1 spot before senior Andrew Heller ’20 demonstrated his toughness en route to a 7–6, 6–3 win. Lin fought hard at the No. 4 position to secure a gutsy 6–7, 6–1, 6–1 victory. Yet, with the deficit from the doubles, Yale eventually fell 3–4 in a heartbreaker.
“I think we did a great job of playing with a lot of energy and intensity from the first point to the last during doubles against Dartmouth, which really helped on the big points,” Sun said. “Overall, I think we fought hard and really came together as a team, which we can really build on moving forward.”
The men next play against William and Mary this weekend, while the women travel to the Blue-Gray Tournament in Alabama.