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The Dartmouth
April 15, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Women’s tennis stands at No. 6 in the Ivy League following ECAC Indoor Championship

The Big Green hosted the ECAC Indoor Championship this past weekend, opening up with a tough loss against Princeton. Dartmouth secured a win against Cornell on Saturday, but lost the fight for fifth place to Yale on Sunday.

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Last Friday, women’s tennis faced off against defending Ivy League champion Princeton University to commence the ECAC Indoor Championship at the Boss Tennis Center. The Big Green fell to the Tigers 4-3. The team triumphantly came back the next day with an upset against Cornell University 4-1, before ending the championship matches on Sunday with a 4-0 loss to Yale University.

Doubles team Brooke Hess ’26 and Katie Weber ’24 started off strong against Princeton as they defeated the Tigers 6-2. Ashley Hess ’23 and Chidimma Okpara ’23 built on the momentum and secured the doubles point for Dartmouth, winning their match 6-3. Lexi Dewire ’24 and Emily Zhou ’23 ended their match with a 5-4 lead as doubles action was cut short due to the aforementioned successes.

During the singles matches, the Tigers pushed back against the Big Green. Princeton player Daria Frayman defeated Okpara in No. 1 singles, and Princeton’s Leena Bennetto’s win against Weber gave the Tigers the advantage. Zhou’s and Ashley Hess’s back-to-back wins brought the Big Green to the top again. After Dewire lost her match, the score was evened at 3-3. 

Ujvala Jupalli ’25 battled Princeton’s Maia Sung in an intense three set singles match. The Big Green failed to secure the victory in a tiebreaker, resulting in a loss for Dartmouth as the Tigers moved into the winner’s bracket.

Head coach Bob Dallis said that he was impressed with the team’s performance against the Tigers.

“We played very well,” Dallis said. “At a certain point, we were two points away from winning the match but we weren’t able to convert. Our spirits were pretty high with how well we played.”

Princeton presented a challenging battle for the Big Green. Valentine Cruz ’26 noted that the Tigers are the defending Ivy League champion with an All-American player leading the team. 

“We were the underdogs going into this,” Cruz said. “We were able to scare the number ones because we almost beat them.”

Dartmouth took the lessons from the Princeton match to secure a 4-1 victory against Cornell the next day. 

Zhou and Dewire set the tone on Saturday with their doubles win 6-2. Brooke Hess and Weber ended doubles play with a victory for Dartmouth as they beat the Big Red 6-3 in their match. Ashley Hess and Okpara left their match unresolved, leading 5-4. 

Right after the doubles success, the singles play started off strong. Jupalli defeated Cornell at No. 4 singles with a two-set win, giving the team an advantage over the Big Red.

Cornell clinched the No. 1 singles win, but Zhou and Brooke Hess shifted the momentum. Following Cornell’s victory, Zhou had a two-set win and Brooke Hess ended the day by winning her No. 6 singles match, leading to an overall Big Green win against the Big Red. 

Brooke Hess said that she played her first singles match that weekend and secured an important win for Dartmouth.

“It was exciting to play such a big match,” Brooke Hess said. “In the doubles, it’s always we want to come out strong, we want to go and play hard to get the doubles point. In the singles match, I knew I had to go out there and give it my all to win the point for Dartmouth.”

On Sunday, the last day of the ECAC Championship matches, the Big Green was competing for fifth place in the Ivy League against the Bulldogs. 

“We are going with the attitude that we are trying to win our tournament,” Dallis said before the Sunday matches. “Our preparation is trying to get rest, trying to do a little bit of recovery work.”

Ultimately, Yale upset the Big Green 4-0. Dewire and Zhou secured a win in their doubles match to start off the matches on Sunday 6-3. The Bulldogs would take the final two doubles matches 6-4, giving them the lead heading into the singles matches. 

Yale swept the first three singles matches, leaving the remaining three singles unfinished. 

“Although we lost to Yale, I think we all learned a lot from the match,” Brooke Hess said. “Although it wasn’t our best tennis on that given day, we all fought very hard and it just makes me look forward to continuing working hard in practice.”

Dallis said he has a positive outlook for the team based on the team’s dynamic and continuous improvement.

“We talk about being a group that cares a lot about each other and tries to compete really hard, and at the same time have a little bit of fun,” Dallis said.

Dartmouth now stands at sixth place in the Ivy League after its loss to the Bulldogs. The Big Green will be back at Boss Tennis Center on Saturday to host Long Beach State University.