Inexperience and inconsistency doomed the women’s tennis team last weekend at the UCAA Championships at St. Lawrence. UR won one match but lost two, finishing fifth behind Vassar, Skidmore, Hamilton, William Smith and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
The Yellowjackets started the tournament with a 5-1 defeat against Hamilton. They rebounded by defeating host St. Lawrence 5-2. UR’s top three all opened with victories. UR’s number one player, freshman Michelle Punj, defeated Johanna Nigh 7-5, 6-3. At number two, sophomore co-captain Maithili Jha was also victorious, defeating Courtney Ellis 6-4, 6-4.
The Yellowjacket’s other captain junior Tara Pajoohi won at the third slot, giving UR a 3-0 lead after manhandling Liz Kelly 7-5, 6-1. UR suffered its first individual defeat at number four as freshman Jill Ardonetto lost to St. Lawrence’s Madoline Rappoli 6-4, 6-1. They responded, however, by winning at the fifth position. Freshman Alex Kravis overcame a tough first set to beat Lara Kimble 7-6, 6-1. Finally at the number six, Nell Aronhoff was swept by Meg Terrien 6-0, 6-0.
Unfortunately UR’s weekend was soured with a tough 5-4 loss agaist RPI. UR dropped two excruciating losses in doubles by mere oints. Those points were crucial in giving the victory to Rensselaer. Punj struggled to win a game in her match, losing to Dorte Knudsen 6-0, 6-1. Jha, on the other hand finished the weekend undefeated by beating Kristen Powers 6-2, 6-1. Pajoohi also showed her experience in defeating Annie Erdkin by the same score. Head coach Anna Khavelina switched Kravis and Ardonetto at the four and five spots, which proved to be a wise move. Kravis almost pulled off a victory at the four spot taking Raimi Ishikawa to three sets, and Ardonetto dominated Victoria Gardner 6-0, 6-1.
In doubles, Jha and Pajoohi were victorious, but Ardonetto and Punj were nipped 9-8 in a tiebreaker, and Arnoff and Kravis succombed to the RPI third doubles team 8-6.
“I was very disappointed with our performance last weekend,” Jha said. “The young girls on this team are very talented, and should do better than we did. I know experience has a lot to do with it, as it was the first UCAA tournament for many players on the team, but we shouldn’t finish fifth.”
This weekend the Yellowjackets look to redeem themselves against many of the same teams in the New York State Championships at Cornell University. Teams such as RPI, Union, Vassar and Skidmore will also be in Ithaca to compete along with other squads who weren’t at the UCAA Championships, such as New York University.
“We are ready to get back out there and show a better performance,” Jha said. “Last week just wasn’t acceptable.
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