“Form is temporary, class is permanent.”
The women’s tennis team exemplified this statement, overcoming a disappointing start to the season to win their third consecutive Ivy League Championship. With this title, the Tigers secured their spot in the NCAA tournament, which will begin on May 6.
In what was a clinical display of high-quality tennis, the Tigers capped off a fantastic three weeks by defeating Columbia 4–0, giving a befitting send-off to their senior players Brianna Shvets, Nathalie Rodilosso, and Stephanie Schrage on a serendipitous senior day.
The Tigers won six out of their seven matchups, losing only to Yale in a closely-fought away match. First came the home match against Penn in the Lenz Tennis Center on April 2. What ensued was a 4–0 rout with the two duos, junior Daria Frayman/senior Nathalie Rodilosso and sophomores Neha Velaga/Zoe Howard winning their respective doubles sets. Frayman, Velaga, and Howard also won their singles matches.
Then came the nail-biting defeat at Yale on April 9. The duos Velaga/Howard and Shvets/Rodilosso ensured that the Tigers won the doubles point. Although Velaga and nationally ranked No. 31 first-year Victoria Hu earned two more crucial points, the Tigers lost their remaining matches with Shvets losing her last set tiebreak. The final scoreline finished at 4–3.
Bouncing back seemed like an uphill task when the Tigers lost the opening doubles point away at Brown on April 10. Yet No.1 Frayman won her singles match as did Velaga, Shvets, and sophomore Maia Sung, giving Princeton a convincing 4–1 win overall. As usual, the Tigers proved that losing did little to deter them.
On April 16, the fourth matchup was to be the famed Princeton-Harvard rivalry taking place on the Tigers’ home courts at the Lenz Tennis Center. Again, butterflies were settling in as Princeton lost the opening doubles point. And as though it was routine, the brilliance of Frayman, Hu, Shvets, and Sung swung it Princeton’s way, giving the Tigers another comeback for a 4–1 win.
Just a day later against Dartmouth, Frayman/Rodilosso and Velaga paired with first-year Skyler Grishuk gave Princeton the opening doubles points. Soon later, Velaga, Sung, and Shvets, who won an almost perfect 6–0, 6–0, were at their dominant best to give the Tigers a 4–0 win.
Second-to-last was an away match against Cornell on April 22. Frayman/Rodilosso as well as Sung with junior Grace Joyce gave the Tigers the opening doubles point. Hu and Shvets followed with their singles magic alongside Sung, who won with a perfect scoreline 6–0, 6–0, to bring the Tigers to a comfortable 4–0 victory.
In the last round of the tournament, Princeton took on Columbia. The Tigers needed this win to fend off Yale, who only had two losses against Columbia and Penn. Sung/Joyce and Velaga/Grishuk gave the perfect start, securing the doubles point. Then singles victories for Velaga, Hu, and Shvets confirmed Princeton’s 4–0 win and a perfect end to the season.
The Tigers are the Ivy League Champions. It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
Vedant Shah is a contributor to the Sports section at the ‘Prince.’ He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @VedantS67190694.