Women’s tennis concludes fall season with Big Green Invite

by Emily Lu | 11/4/19 2:05am

The annual Big Green Invite this weekend concluded the fall season of the women’s tennis team. Dartmouth hosted Yale University, the University of Massachusetts and St. John’s University in round robin play, finishing 11-14 in singles and 4-6 in doubles.

Dartmouth also played in the Brown Tournament, Harvard Tournament, ITA Northeast Regionals and Brown Invite before heading back to the Boss Tennis Center to host this weekend’s action. While the team was usually split up at the previous competitions, they played together at the Big Green Invite for the first time. The end of fall is really only another beginning: fall matches help to prepare the team for the winter and spring terms, when Ivy League play begins.

“[Like] the rest of the fall competitions, we have an opportunity to represent Dartmouth and kind of see where we’re at in terms of what we’re doing in practice and trying to do as a team,” said head coach Bob Dallis.

The fall season also serves as a transition period for the newer players on the team. Among the group of 12 this year, four are freshmen.

“My mindset has been to work on really developing who I am as a college tennis player and working on certain aspects of my game that I might not have focused on in junior tennis, such as my net game,” said Ashley Hess ’23.

The three-day Big Green Invite began on Friday afternoon with Dartmouth first facing Yale in both singles and doubles play. Sophomore duo Jingyi Peng ’22 and Nina Paripovic ’22 dominated their Bulldog opponents with a 6-1 win. Catherine Cable ’20 fell 6-1 in the first set of her singles’ match before storming back to win the remaining two sets 6-2 and 6-1.

“I found my groove and was able to stay positive the whole time,” Cable said. “I think that makes a huge difference because it’s easy to get down on yourself. [You have to] believe you can come back — that you’re playing to win rather than playing not to lose.”

The team found success in the three matches it played against UMass on Friday, with Emily Zhou ’23 capturing a 6-4, 6-2 game. The doubles team of seniors Cable and Chuyang Guan ’20 demonstrated their experience with a 6-3 victory.

On Saturday, the Big Green won two doubles matches and four singles matches, playing teams from each of the three schools. Chidimma Okpara ’23, Nina Paripovic and Guan all defeated their opponents from SJU in singles play. Co-captain Allison McCann ’20 won a set then dropped the second before clinching her match against Yale with a commanding 6-0 final set. Doubles action saw co-captain Raquel Lyn ’20 and Nicole Conard ’22 nab a 6-3 win while facing SJU players. Freshman and senior duo Cable and Hess also communicated well to come out 6-1 against SJU.

“My goal was just to implement in what we’ve been working on in practice with doubles in terms of net movement and good first serves, and I think we did that well,” Hess said.

Dallis echoed those sentiments, specifically emphasizing “working on serving to create an advantage.” Dallis further acknowledged the team’s focus in their approach to the game.

“My expectations never change,” he explained. “The expectations are how we’re going to compete, how we’re going to represent Dartmouth, and how the women on the team are going to play for each other.”

On Sunday, the Big Green finished the meet going 5-4 in singles matches. Conard, Lyn, Guan, McCann and Paripovic all took home victories, with McCann and Guan winning in straight sets. Cable was able to win her first set against Yale but dropped the next two. 

The Big Green looks to continue its momentum into the winter season, which ramps up quickly after winterim with a match against Boston College on January 18.

“Fall’s pretty individual, and competing as a team is really fun,” Cable said. “This next season, [I’m excited for] going out and competing for oneness and who we are as Dartmouth women’s tennis rather than individuals.”