Women’s tennis heads to NCAA regionals after perfect 7–0 finish in the Ivy League| May 2, 2018
After a perfect 7–0 run through Ivy League play, women’s tennis will head south for the NCAA regionals beginning May 11. They will travel to Lubbock, Texas, where they will begin play facing nationally ranked No. 19 Illinois. Also in the group, competing for a spot in the NCAA championships, are West Point and host Texas Tech.
The Tigers will be led by recently named All-Ivy senior Katrine Steffensen, who was unanimously voted to the first team. Despite facing several highly-ranked opponents, Steffensen went 14–4 this season as Princeton’s first single and was instrumental to their success in the conference, winning five of her seven matches in Ivy League play. First-year Stephanie Schrage, who also went 5–2 in Ivy League play, was named to the All-Ivy second team and will be equally critical to the team’s success at regionals.
Princeton earned its spot in the NCAA regional by dominating its Ivy League opponents, winning all seven of their conference matches. In the final weekend of the season, the team faced Harvard in a de facto Ivy League championship match, as both teams entered undefeated. Princeton earned a narrow 4–3 win, with Steffensen clinching the victory by taking down nationally-ranked Erica Oosterhout, 7–5, 6–3. The Tigers put the finishing touches on the undefeated Ivy season by beating Dartmouth 5–2 the next day, winning five out of the six singles matches.
Despite its strong play throughout the season, the team will need to continue to improve its performance if they wish to compete with the higher ranked power conference teams. Illinois fell in the semifinals of the Big Ten conference tournament to Michigan, but the Illini boast a 21–5 record on the season and a 9–3 record in Big Ten play. They are led by Mia Rabinowitz, who is ranked No. 114 in the most recent ITA rankings and went 20–4 on the season in singles matches, and Jaclyn Switkes, who is ranked No. 91 and went 13–6, both of whom will be formidable opponents for the Tigers.
If they can advance past the semifinal stage, the Tigers would likely face an even tougher opponent in Texas Tech, currently ranked No. 14 in the ITA rankings. Texas Tech finished second in the Big 12, losing to Texas in the conference championship, and boasts five players in the top 125 of the ITA rankings, including No. 21 Gabriela Talaba.
This year’s regionals qualification continues a remarkable stretch of success for the team. They have qualified for four of the past five NCAA regionals, most recently losing to Georgia Tech in the first round in 2016. They will look to put that experience to use next weekend to pull of a series of upsets and keep their successful season alive.