A week after opening their seasons by reaching their respective Cornell Invite flight finals, sophomores Christine Clermont and Elyse Steiner took their rackets to Penn for the Cissie Leary Invitational, which featured 10 schools from four conferences.
Clermont reached the consolation round final, losing to Yale’s Sarah Lederhandler, 6-4, 2-6, 11-9. After winning her opening match, Steiner fell in the second round. She then lost to Penn’s Maria Anisimova, 6-4, 7-5 in the consolation round. Together, the two Owls went 1-2 in doubles play.
Yale’s Janet Kim won the singles title, while Penn’s Ekaterina Kosminskaya and Julia Koulbitskay won the doubles crown.
“Both girls came out and showed their all,” first-year coach Jill Breslin said. “It’s so early in the season that we’re competing hard just to stay in shape.”
In their first doubles match, Clermont and Steiner defeated Yale’s Lederhandler and Jessica Rhee 8-5. They then fell short to Cornell’s Susan Sullivan and Elizabeth Googe, 8-3, and moved to the consolation bracket.
Their third match was a different story.
The duo wasted little time against Bethan James and Holly Johnson of Virginia Tech. The match itself went back and forth consisting of great effort. When all was said and done, Temple emerged victorious, 8-6, in the consolation match Saturday.
But their competition did not end there. Both players competed in singles action.
Steiner defeated Yale’s Stevi Petrelli 6-2, 3-6, 10-7 and Kansas’ Elizaveta Avdeeva 4-6, 6-1, 10-8.
In the third round, Steiner faced Penn powerhouse Maria Anisimova. Anisimova, who was part of the first doubles pair in Penn history to make the NCAA Championships – ranking 46th in the nation – defeated Steiner 6-4, 7-5. Anisimova eventually fell to second-seeded Inga Beerman of Virginia Tech 6-3, 6-3 in the quarterfinals.
Clermont lost to Cornell’s Susan Sullivan 0-6, 6-3, 10-7, but defeated St. Bonaventure’s Ana Delgado 6-1, 6-0 in the consolation round.
Clermont, the ninth seed, showed her abilities on Saturday as she nearly ran the table in defeating Massachusetts’s Kaitlyn Carpenter 6-1, 6-0. She then topped Columbia’s Lauren Shearer 6-4, 6-0, before losing to Lederhandler 6-4, 2-6, 11-9 in the consolation final.
Clermont said she finds tennis to be a mental game, saying she must be in the right frame of mind in order to win.
The Owls next compete in the Brown Invitational, held in Providence, RI this weekend.
Joe Polinsky can be reached at email@example.com.