Sports

Women’s tennis makes statement at Harvard

The team won most of its matches each day of the tournament, with Dayna Lord ’17 as a standout

By
Sports Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The dynamic doubles duo Hannah Camhi ’16 and Dayna Lord ’17 went undefeated last weekend at the Harvard Invitational, with victories against teams from the University of Illinois, Harvard and Boston University.

Each of Brown’s doubles pairs emerged victorious at least once over the course of the weekend.

The last time women’s tennis played — also at Cambridge, but in the ITA Eastern Regional Tournament — Camhi, a Herald sports staff writer, and Lord were the only members to record victories. This time, the team exhibited greater depth in ability, with many members contributing to a solid performance.

“On each of the days, we won a majority of the matches in both singles and doubles,” Camhi said. “It just showed that throughout our team we have a very solid lineup. We can match up against any team well.”

The tournament marks a turning point for the team, which has been plagued by injuries since the start of the fall season. “This is the closest we’ve been to a healthy team in a tournament for a while,” Camhi said. “We’re not even … a full healthy team, and we’re still making a statement in this tournament.”

The doubles team Ashley Noyes ’16 and Nikita Uberoi ’15 notched an 8-2 victory over Illinois. Sarah Kandath ’15 and Ammu Mandalap ’16 brought home two doubles victories over BU and Harvard, 8-5 and 8-6, while Victoria Traynor ’17 and Mariska Chamdani ’17 triumphed 8-1 over BU.

In singles play, Uberoi and Chamdani each won one of two matches — with both wins against Harvard — while Traynor went two for three with two wins over BU.

While Lord’s 10-match winning streak was broken at the ITA Eastern Regional Tournament, her three singles wins this weekend brought her record to 13-1. Lord “didn’t struggle” during the invitational, Camhi said.

Lord’s intimidating serve and skillful play have made her very hard to beat and garnered attention from opponents. She notched decisive singles victories over BU (6-2, 6-0), Illinois (6-0, 6-3) and Harvard (6-1, 6-3).

Lord, who partnered with Camhi to sweep doubles as well, did not drop a match all weekend.

Other tournament highlights included Traynor’s first competitive use of her backhand all season after recovering from wrist surgery on her left wrist. She previously competed using only her forehand and one-handed backhand.

Traynor’s full-fledged return proved a boost of confidence as she scored two wins over BU, dropping only one match for the weekend, against Harvard.

The team does not dwell on injuries to its players, said Head Coach Paul Wardlaw — instead, the players continue practicing and working toward recovering.

Wardlaw implemented extra conditioning training this year as a part of the team’s practice regime. Noyes, coming off an injury, was also competing for the first time this season, earning her first doubles win of the year alongside Uberoi in the team’s last tournament for the fall.

“This weekend, we were very steady in our matches and were very reliable,” Camhi said. “We had purpose on the courts.”

In the winter and spring, individual performances matter only in the context of the team’s trajectory as a whole. A blowout win counts as much as a come-from-behind underdog triumph when it comes to the team winning matches. Competing well in the fall is all in preparation for the spring, Wardlaw said.

The steady tournament performance is a good indicator of the team’s depth and potential for success in the winter and spring.

The team opens its regular season Jan. 24 against Boston College at the Pizzitola Memorial Sports Center.