Approaching the end of the season, the women’s tennis team traveled to the University Athletic Association championships at Brandeis University this past weekend, playing against three teams in two days, ending in mixed results.
The team fell to the University of Chicago in the quarterfinals, losing 8-1. However, the Yellowjackets capitalized on a seventh-place match against Case Western Reserve University, winning 7-1. Despite the win, they failed to defeat New York University in the consolation bracket, losing 9-0.
UR could not find the right rhythm to defeat Chicago, a dominant force in the central region.
Freshman Shivani Kumar did not gain any ground against Michele Pavan, ending the match 6-1, 6-0. Freshman Vera Yakovchenko faced the same fate against Katie Dulmage.
Junior Jaymi Della and freshman Alexa Perry did not fare much better against their formidable opponents, losing 6-2, 6-2 and 6-1, 6-3, respectively.
Nevertheless, there were tight and exciting matches.
Freshman Colleen Cross acquired the only win for UR against Chicago, defeating Ade Omodele-Lucien in a gruesome match. On the verge of losing in straight sets, Cross prevailed in a second set tiebreaker and eventually won a third set super tiebreaker.
“Winning the second set tiebreaker gave me a lot of momentum into the third set super tiebreaker,” Cross said. “I was finally able to hit through the ball, and I had some confidence from winning the second set.”
Junior Tessa Baker fell short of repeating Cross’ performance, but she played just as hard. Against Liz Saydah, Baker failed to continue the momentum she had in the first set, resulting in a third set super tiebreaker loss. The final score was 6-4, 4-6, 10-3.
The next day, UR came roaring back with an astounding performance against CWRU. Cross swept Cindy Hsieh 6-0, 6-0, while her doubles partner, Kumar, downed Anne Dennhardt 6-1, 6-2.
Perry defeated Christine Yun, 6-3, 6-1, despite having stomach, rib and back problems. Baker found success as well, beating Melanie Stipp, 6-0, 6-3.
The Yellowjackets redeemed themselves in doubles play as well. Cross and Kumar defeated Hsieh and Dennhardt 8-5, while Baker and Perry overcame Lauren Gray and Yun, 8-3. Yakovchenko and Della continued the domino effect by defeating Langhorst and Stipp, 8-2.
The whole team played at its best.
“We were really focused and prepared to play,” Perry commented. “We all tried to play aggressively and consistently.”
In the consolation bracket, the Yellowjackets could not find any weaknesses in NYU’s game. Despite the sweep against UR, the Yellowjackets still fought hard.
Both Perry and Baker carried their matches into a third set super tiebreaker. Perry just missed a win for UR against Megan Hayes, losing 6-1, 4-6, 10-4.
Baker, in a long three set match against Jackie Manning, crawled back with a close second set win. Baker slipped by with a tight second set tiebreaker but failed to repeat in the third set. The final score was 2-6, 7-6 (10-8), 12-10.
As the Yellowjackets play their final match of the season this weekend at The College of New Jersey, it is important to look back on their performance this season.
Although they are a young team, the five freshmen gained valuable experience this year.
The team is enthusiastic about the upcoming fall season and filled with optimism about future success.
“We have a good base of strong freshmen,” Della said. “Now that this young team has had a year of college competition behind them, we will be that much stronger next fall. We hope to place much higher in the Liberty League championships. The matches played against Skidmore College and St. Lawrence University this past spring proved that we are stronger both in our game and mentally than we were in the fall.”
Perry agreed that they would improve. “I think we’ll have a great season next fall,” she said. “We have no graduating players, and now we all have a lot more experience playing college tennis.”
The team looks forward to performing at a higher level in the fall, hoping to reach the regional rankings.
Lee can be reached at email@example.com.