The women’s tennis team will once again face tough competition when it hosts the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Indoor Championships this weekend.
The six-team tournament will serve as a preview for Ivy play—which doesn’t begin until the last week of March—as all six participating schools come from the Ancient Eight. No. 32 Yale and No. 51 Columbia will be the top two seeds, and will both have byes for the first round. No. 69 Princeton will square off against Dartmouth to kick off the competition on Friday, followed by Cornell and Brown.
Because the Lions will be playing some familiar Ivy foes, head coach Ilene Weintraub, CC ’02, said that she’s excited for the tournament because it will allow the team to gauge where it stands within the conference.
“It will really motivate the girls to continue working hard,” she said. “We’ll get a great look at our opponents, so we’ll have a clear idea on what to work on going forward.”
But sophomore Kanika Vaidya said that familiarity with Ancient Eight opponents can be a double-edged sword.
“I think it’s a good and a bad thing, to be honest, because they see you too, so they also know what your strengths and weaknesses are,” Vaidya said. “It’s really a matter of going out there and seeing who’s better prepared and who wants it more.”
One area in which the Lions have a definite edge on paper is in doubles. Last week, Vaidya and her partner, senior Bianca Sanon, combined with the duo of junior Crystal Leung and first-year Tina Jiang to defeat two of No. 54 Denver’s doubles teams without surrendering a single game. Both Light Blue pairs are ranked in the top 25 nationally and are at the top of the northeast region.
“I feel like coach really found good combinations for the teams, and we complement each other,” Vaidya said. “If it’s a tough point, or a tough time in the match, you can pull your partner up because you know how they are. You know what they react to.”
“I think in a tournament like this where anything can happen—especially in singles where we’re playing 10-point tiebreakers—doubles becomes even more important,” Weintraub said. “It is a huge advantage that we believe we have the best doubles play in the league.”
The Lions will play the winner of the Princeton-Dartmouth match on Saturday at noon at the Dick Savitt Tennis Center.