The women's tennis team gets set to defend its Ivy League title as it kicks off the fall 2018 season this weekend. The Tigers will host the Princeton Invitational at the Cordish Family Pavilion and Lenz Tennis Center throughout the weekend, where they will match up in both singles and doubles against Syracuse University, Temple University, and University of Pennsylvania.
The Tigers kick things off on Friday against Penn in doubles play, then face Temple in singles play during the afternoon session. Scheduled for Saturday is doubles action against Temple and Syracuse, followed by singles play against Penn. To wrap up the tournament, the Tigers will compete against Syracuse in singles matches.
The Tigers will be returning a strong class of players responsible for the title clinching efforts a year ago. Returning to the court are seniors Nicole Kalhorn and Catalina Vives; juniors Tiffany Chen, Clare McKee, and Gaby Pollner; and sophomores Nathalie Rodilosso and Stephanie Schrage. New to the 2018–19 squad are freshmen Grace Joyce and Brianna Shvets.
This new roster looks to repeat last year’s success. Though they fell to Illinois at the NCAA Regionals last spring to conclude their spring season, the Tigers clinched the Ivy League title with a perfect 7–0 record, a feat achieved only four times in program history. In addition to this eighth NCAA tournament appearance and 14th Ivy League title, the team was ranked 24th by the USTA and 47th by the ITA because of a 19–4 season which netted the second most wins in program history.
Contributing to this exciting year were both Kalhorn and Schrage, who both received All-Ivy League honors last year, Kalhorn earning doubles accolades and Schrage earning singles. In addition, Schrage, alongside teammate McKee, led the team in singles with 22 wins throughout the fall and spring seasons.
Of the nine players, Kalhorn and Vives will be spearheading this year’s squad. “We want to carry our theme of unity from last year throughout this year as well," Kalhorn explained. "We nicknamed ourselves the ‘Unit.’ Though we are indeed striving for another Ivy title and some opportunities at [the NCAA], the main goal is to keep our heads down and focus on the process.”
The Tigers hope to follow up an impressive 2017 showing at last season's Princeton Invitational. Princeton outperformed the other teams last season, closing the tournament with a record of 15–5 in singles play and an even more impressive 10–1 tally in doubles play. With Penn and Temple returning to the Invitational this year, the Tigers hope to repeat the success they had last fall and start the season off with a successful tournament.
“It is the first time in a while that we have all been healthy simultaneously, and so everyone is so excited to play alongside one another,” Kalhorn said, noting the pre-season jitters the team is experiencing before this weekend's Invitational. “It is a new team, and so it is always exciting to play with the first years and watch them in their elements.”