The Princeton women’s tennis team (9-6) will begin a run for its fourth consecutive Ivy League title this weekend when they compete against the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. The match marks the first of seven in Ivy League play.
The team is coming off a sweep of their trip to southern California over spring break, where they achieved wins over San Diego State, California State Northridge, and San Diego.
Last Monday, the Tigers opened their California tour with a 6-1 win over Cal State Northridge (7-8). The team won the first two doubles matches and secured straight-set wins by freshman Gaby Pollner, senior Sivan Krems, sophomore Nicole Kalhorn, freshman Clare McKee and junior Katrine Steffensen.
They followed up on Thursday with a 4-1 win over San Diego. The Tigers scored doubles wins by Kalhorn and senior Caroline Joyce and McKee and Steffensen. The team also came back from a defeat in fourth singles with Krems, McKee, and Joyce, all winning in straight sets.
On Friday, the team completed their sweep with doubles wins by Krems and Pollner as well as McKee and Steffensen, with McKee, Joyce, and Kalhorn winning the first three singles matches. An additional victory by Steffensen added a point to the 5-2 final score.
Prior to the California trip, the team competed at the Eastern College Athletic Conference from Feb. 10-12, where it was awarded the top seed. Its Friday match against No. 5 Brown was cancelled due to snow, and they defeated Columbia 4-2 on Saturday before falling 2-4 to Cornell on Sunday despite winning in doubles.
The Tigers followed with a strong 7-0 victory in a home match against Rutgers on Feb. 15, then travelled to Ohio for a 5-2 win against Xavier. However, their momentum going into spring break was countered by losses against University of Kentucky on Feb. 26 and University of Maryland on March 5.
Ultimately buoyed by its success over spring break, the team is poised for a strong showing in the Ivy League. Led by Kalhorn and McKee, who are together ranked No. 71 in the country by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, the Tigers are also benefiting from a strong freshman showing. Krems has demonstrated exceptional performance throughout the season, primarily playing at second singles, and will represent the United States in Israel this summer at the Maccabiah Games, a celebration of Jewish pride through sports.
Princeton has won its last eight consecutive games against Penn, not suffering a loss since 2008. This year, the team will have to watch out for Penn’s Kana Daniel, who is nationally ranked No. 64 in singles.
Following the Penn match, the Tigers will face Cornell (10-4) at Princeton next Friday, and Columbia (4-10) the following Sunday. They will compete against Yale and Brown on April 14 and 15, respectively, before finishing out league play against Harvard on April 22 and Dartmouth on April 23.
With a solid record, the women’s tennis team is looking for its fourth consecutive Ivy League title and a shot at NCAA Regionals and the National Championship.