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Women's tennis team earns Ivy League title

After coming out of January with five straight losses, it was hard to guess what was in store for this Princeton women’s team.

The program was coming off its first victory in the NCAA tournament (defeating Arizona State), but in this season saw early struggles. Granted, one of those losses was to the Stanford Cardinal, ranked 8th at the time, but fans certainly may have been worried.


For fans that remember their performance in league play last year, such worries needed not be present. With their win this Sunday against the Cornell Big Red at the Lenz Tennis Center, the Tigers (12-8 overall, 6-1 Ivy League) clinched the league title. This women’s tennis team had a dominant showing in Ivy League play, putting up a 6-1 record against others in the league. A loss to the Columbia Lions (12-8, 4-3) on Friday was the only blip in their quest to repeat last year’s 7-0 showing in Ivy League play from last year.

Katie Goepel, a senior on the women’s tennis team, noted that the Tigers’ victory in the postseason actually proved an important rallying point for getting through the tough times at the beginning of the season.

“We [knew] that after last year, we belong with those teams, even though we lost a lot of matches against ranked teams.” Goepel said, “We didn’t let it get to us. We kept our heads up, working really hard, and didn’t let those early matches affect the rest of the season.”

Senior Joan Cannon pointed out that the attitude through the losing streak was lightened knowing that individual performances were not a huge source of concern.

“We knew individual people were playing really well, even though we had those losses. It was easy to keep our heads up.” Cannon explained.

Traces of those early matches seemed long gone in their most recent outing. The Tigers opened up strong Sunday against Cornell (9-9, 3-4) with a fantastic doubles performance. Junior Amanda Muliawan and sophomore Dorothy Tang took their doubles match 8-2, with junior Emily Hahn and freshman Katrine Steffensen earning the same result at 8-5 to clinch the victory.


Singles play proved to be much tighter competition than doubles. The Tigers and Big Red split the matches 3-3. Muliawan, Steffensen, and senior Lindsay Graff got the three crucial wins that earned the Tigers the title of outright Ivy League champions.

NCAA Tournament now looms for Tigers

With the regular season behind them, the team can now prepare for the NCAA Championships, slated to begin Friday, May 8.

After the amount of success they’ve experience in league play this season, Cannon pointed that one of goals for the next three weeks is to keep the team hungry and wanting more, even after the success from last year.

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“We knew that we wanted to do bigger and better things. We had the same starters come back, we knew we could do more than we did last year.” Cannon said, “We started preparing really early.”

The losses, Cannon said, are just learning points by which the team will improve and be ready when the games really count.

“We had had a few tough losses,” Cannon said. “We knew that would just prepare [us] come later on in the season.”