The women’s tennis team concluded their fall season last weekend, making tremendous strides from past performances at the beginning of the fall campaign. Facing many of the same opponents that they encountered in placing sixth at the UCAA Championships two weeks ago, UR left the New York State Championships at Cornell University with a third place finish.

The tournament had nine different individual draws, which was very different than the format at the UCAA championships. The individual format helped UR, as their top players advanced far into their draws. In singles, freshman Michelle Punj and junior Tara Pajoohi both advanced to the semi-finals. Punj, competing in the top singles flight won her first round match 7-5, 6-1 and her second match by default, before losing to the number two seed 6-1, 6-0. Meanwhile, Pajoohi opened up by defeating with a 7-5, 6-1 in the first and second rounds of the third singles flight. Pajoohi was eliminated by the the number one seed in a tough two set match, 6-4, 6-4.

In the second singles flight, sophomore Maithili Jha faced the draw’s number two seed, and despite a good effort she fell by a score of 6-3, 6-3. In the fourth flight of singles, freshman Alex Kravis made it to the quarterfinals before being defeated 6-2, 6-0. Fellow freshmen Jill Ardonetto and Nell Aronoff did not make it out of the first round. Ardonetto lost a tough three-setter 7-5, 4-6, 6-1, while Aronoff fell by a score of 6-2, 6-3.

UR was much more successful in doubles. Jha and Pajoohi were the top seed in the tournament and won their first two matches. Their bid for a championship ended when they were upset in the semifinals 8-6. At second doubles, Punj and Ardonetto also had a good run. However, their season also ended in the semifinals, with an 8-5 loss. Aronoff and Kravis made it to the quaarterfinals at third doubles, where they lost 8-2.

The team enjoyed the slight improvement, but was not content with third place. “We need to learn to be more patient and consistent,” said Punj. UR has much to look forward to in the spring as their young team continues to gain experience and get better. “Basically we used the fall to gain experience for the spring, mainly, we looked at it as practice for the main season in a couple months,” Punj said.

Rybaltowski can be reached at

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