The women’s tennis team went into Wednesday’s match against William Smith College hungry for a win, but came away with a tough 5-4 loss instead.
Getting better and better with every match, UR used William Smith as a measuring stick to see how they stack up against Upstate Collegiate Athletic Association competition. In the fall, William Smith finished fourth in the UCAA Championship, while UR finished sixth. The results of this match show that UR has closed the gap between them and the rest of the conference.
The women played better than they have in all of their previous matches and are coming together at the right time. The lopsided losses are becoming close losses and the close losses are becoming victories.
In the six singles matches, UR came away with a 3-3 split. Junior Tara Pajoohi had a convincing 6-1, 6-1 victory at the number one singles slot and freshman Michelle Punj had an equally impressive win at number two, beating her opponent 6-1, 6-3. Freshman Jaymi Della secured the other singles win, coming out on top 6-3, 6-3.
The match was decided by the doubles matches. William Smith won the doubles battle two matches to one, giving them a total of five points.
Although doubles matches are played prior to the singles matches, they were the deciding factor in the match. The number three doubles team of freshmen Alex Kravis and Rachelle Stopczynski came away with a close 8-6 win.
Looking back on the match the women could not convert when they really needed to. At number one doubles, Pajoohi and Punj lost 9-7 to a team of players that they dismantled in singles. Other players gave up decisive leads that led to close victories in some cases and losses in other situations. If any of the losses could have been turned around, UR would have claimed the win.
“We aren’t being patient enough when it gets tight. We need to be able to really step it up in those close situations,” Kravis said.
In tennis momentum is so crucial and can sway at any moment. Against William Smith, the Yellowjackets were just not able to capitalize in the defining moments.
This weekend the women will travel to face UCAA rivals Hamilton College on Saturday and Skidmore College on Sunday.
Both of these squads are solid, but with increased consistency and patience, UR has a chance to earn a win.
“These next two matches will be tough, but if we continue to improve, we will be able to come away with some wins,” Punj said.
Hamilton finished third in the UCAA Championship and Skidmore took second, so UR will really show their improvement if they can come away with a win.
After this weekend, the women’s squad will be idle until they travel to the University Athletic Association Championships at Washington University in St. Louis.
Getting a win this weekend will provide the Yellowjackets with the confidence that they need heading into a stacked UAA field.
Fitzsimmons can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.