Shorthanded W. Tennis Falls to Yale at ECACs

The Harvard women’s tennis team represented the Crimson from ocean to ocean, competing in both the ITA All-American Championships in Pacific Palisades, Calif., and the ECAC Division I Invitational in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., this past weekend.

ECAC Championships

Defending champion Harvard was seeded No. 1 and began the tournament campaign with convincing wins over Army and Columbia.

But Harvard’s winning ways came to a halt in the semifinals when the Crimson squared off against Yale. The Bulldogs defeated Harvard 4-0 and went on to win the championship title, but the competition was not as one-sided as the score indicated.

Yale’s Susan Hinker defeated sophomore Ashley Hyotte 6-4, 6-2. The Bulldogs’ Ashley and Karlyn Martin triumphed over sophomores Lola Ajilore 6-0, 6-4, and Christina Chen 6-0, 6-4.

Sophomore Alexis Martire led Margaret Purcell 6-4, 4-1, while senior Sanja Bajin trailed Biffy Kaufman 5-6 (4), 6-2 and Cao Minh trailed Stephanie White 3-6, 3-4.

Martire lost to Purcell in singles competition last year, so her improved performance was one plus from the Yale match.

“I was playing great tennis yesterday,” Martire said. “Purcell hit very loopy shots, and my footwork and slice backhand were really effective.”

“I was upset I didn’t win my match, because it was a sign that I have improved my game,” she added. “But I was more upset not to win for the team.”

The Nos. 2 and 3 Yale doubles team defeated the Crimson by an 8-1 margin. Hiniker-Martin downed Hyotte-Ajilore, and Cao Minh-Finicane fell to Pucell-Martin. Bajin-Martire led 5-3 but did not finish.

The Crimson failed to defend its title largely due to the absence of several key competitors on account of injuries and other commitments. Sophomore No. 1 Courtney Bergman and freshman Eva Wang were both recovering from ITA All-Americans and could not compete. Sophomore Susanna Lingman missed competition as a result of a strained stomach muscle, and freshman Alli Pillinger did not play due to an earlier injury.

“I think that, given the situation with so many out in the line-up, we did the best we could,” Martire said.

Due to rain, competition began indoors, forcing some players to wait their turn due to a shortage of courts.

Harvard started out strong when Hyotte and Anjilore won their No. 2 doubles match, 8-4.

In No. 1 doubles, the Army duo of Annie Collier and Megan Noble fell with an audible thud to Bajin and Martire, 8-1. The Crimson tandem is ranked No. 47 in the nation.

The freshman pairing of Lyly Cao Minh and Moira Finicane were down 5-3 when their match was stopped after Harvard secured the doubles point by winning the previous two matches.