When a Division III team faces off against a Division I team, that sports a full roster of scholarship players a win is often a longshot. Such was the case when the women’s tennis team headed into their match against SUNY Albany.

The Yellowjackets fell by a score of 5-2 to an Albany squad that was just too strong. UR came away with wins from freshmen Michelle Punj and Jaymi Della at the number two and five singles spots respectively. Punj won 6-4, 6-2 and Della came away with a convincing 6-0, 6-3 victory.

“They were just a very deep team and were too tough throughout the line-up,” Punj said.

The Yellowjackets followed up the Albany loss with a heartbreaking 6-3 loss at the hands of Skidmore College.

UR went into the contest with their hopes held high. “The whole team really thought that we had a chance of winning this match,” freshman Jill Adornetto said.

The Yellowjackets defeated Skidmore 9-0 last season, so UR wanted to prove that they could still compete within their division. With five freshmen starting, UR put up a good fight, but in the end could not come away with the win.

Throughout the season, UR has been a few individual wins shy of claiming a match victory, the same was true against Skidmore. Going into the match, UR knew that they would have to pull out some wins at the lower positions in both the singles and doubles slots. Unfortunately, the bottom of UR’s lineup could not match up with the depth of the Skidmore team.

The three wins came courtesy of junior captain Tara Pajoohi and Punj. Pajoohi put on a dominating performance, winning 6-3, 6-1 at number one singles. Punj had a more challenging match but cruised through the third set to claim a 6-4, 5-7, 6-0 victory at number two singles. Pajoohi and Punj paired up to post an impressive 8-1 victory. at the number one doubles spot.

As was the case in many of UR’s previous matches, the strength came from the top, but the bottom of the ladder will have to start picking up its play if the Yellowjackets are to contend in their next tournament, the University Athletic Association Championships at Washington University in St. Louis on April 25-27.

“I think playing a lot of Div. I teams has really toughened us up, and I think that it has helped prepare us for difficult Div. III opponents,” Punj said.

Some of the difficult opponents UR could face at the UAA Championships include Emory University and Washington – the nations number one and nine teams respectively. The tournament will be a valuable learning experience for the young team and with solid team play throughout the lineup, UR will look to finish sixth or better in the conference.

Fitzsimmons can be reached at afitzsimmons@campustimes.org.

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