As a general rule, Princeton women’s tennis doesn’t lose. A dominant weekend saw the Tigers lose only two sets en route to trouncing both Brown (10–3, 2–5 Ivy) and Yale (12–11, 4–3) 4–0 in matches. The weekend was a fitting end to a fantastic season. The team finished 18–4 overall and 7–0 in the Ivy League and snagged the Ivy League title for the second consecutive year.
“It has been a long dual match season, and we had a lot of travel during the Ivy season, so for the team to continue to compete at such a high level was very impressive,” said head coach Laura Granville. “I think our recipe for success is to set high goals, maintain high standards, and enjoy the process of trying to achieve these goals.”
On Saturday at home, the team had no problem achieving these goals. No player lost a set against Brown. The first-year-senior duo of Brianna Shvets and Nicole Kalhorn went on to win their doubles set 6–1, and sophomores Nathalie Rodilosso and Stephanie Schrage won their doubles set 6–2.
“Nicole is very comfortable at the net and has a lot of experience, which plays to my strengths because I prefer setting her up to finish the volley off,” said Shvets.
The momentum from the doubles matches would carry over into singles. There, Shvets, first-year Grace Joyce, and junior Clare McKee made quick work of the Bears, all winning in straight sets. With only one match needed to guarantee their spot as Ivy League champions — for the fifth time in six years — the athletes knew the biggest moment of the weekend was still to come.
“We were definitely more focused because we didn’t want to share a title with Harvard. We really wanted to keep our streak [of Ivy League championships] going,” said Shvets.
If the chance to secure an Ivy League title wasn’t pressure enough, Princeton’s Senior Day added another layer to the Sunday faceoff against Yale. The Tigers took it all in stride.
The doubles teams of Shvets/Kalhorn and Joyce/McKee nabbed the first point of the day. Their victory meant the Tigers had to win just half of their singles matches to be crowned champions. Shvets, Joyce, and Kalhorn made sure there would be no dramatics. They won in straight sets, securing the title and sending the seniors out on a positive note.
“[The seniors] have kept things fun, which is so important during a long season. When a team is close and wants to play for each other, and win for each other, it makes all of the difference,” said Granville.
With a spot in the NCAA Tournament secured, all the team can do now is wait to hear its upcoming schedule, which will be released on April 29.
“In previous years, we’ve had to wait three weeks after our last Ivy match before playing the first round of the NCAAs. This year, it is only ten days, which is much better for us. It gives the players some time to rest and recover, but not so much time that they lose their match sharpness,” said Granville.
With an undefeated Ivy League season under their belts, the women’s tennis team has the potential to make a big splash in the tournament. A combination of experienced seniors and a very talented young core make the Tigers a tough matchup for any team in the coming weeks.