Four Bulldogs Survive Day One At Individual Championships

Annie Ballaine. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Annie Ballaine. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

HARTFORD, Conn. – Friday in the Ramsey Division at the CSA Individual Championships, No. 2-seeded junior Millie Tomlinson won two matches to advance to the third round, where she was joined by fellow junior Lilly Fast, sophomore Issey Norman-Ross and freshman Annie Ballaine.

Tomlinson was able to win her first match, against Trinity's Sachika Balvani, by a safe margin of 11-5, 11-2, 11-6.  In the second, though, she faced Yale sophomore Shihui Mao.  Mao had knocked off Princeton's Nicole Bunyan in a repeat of an Ivy League season win in the first round, with the final score coming in at 11-6, 11-8, 11-7.  However, Tomlinson would prove too much for Mao, winning the first game by a close 11-9 then pulling away to finish with 11-4 and 11-7 wins.  Tomlinson will face Princeton's Elizabeth Eyre in the quarterfinals Saturday.  In the second round consolation bracket, also on Saturday, Mao will face No. 7 seed Pamela Chua, of Stanford.

Also playing in the Ramsay Division were senior captain Katie Ballaine and junior Gwen Tilghman.  Ballaine, ranked No. 28, fell in a first-round matchup with the nation's No. 9 ranked player in Cornell's Daniel Letourneau, taking the third game 13-11 after dropping the first two 11-6 and 11-4, but ultimately conceded the fourth 11-8.  Ballaine would, however notch a five-set victory over Dartmouth senior Corey Schafer, who is ranked No. 30.  Schafer snagged the first set 12-10, but Ballaine came back in the second 11-7, the third set was Schafer's again, with Ballaine only scrounging up five points.  From there, though, the captain found new energy as she battled her way to a 13-11 win in the fourth and subdued Schafer with an 11-4 final game.  Ballaine will play Jaime Laird, a member of the Big Red squad, on Saturday.  Laird is ranked No. 20 and topped Tilghman, No. 24, in three sets to advance. 

In the Holleran Division, all three Bulldogs in competition advanced to the round of 16.  Norman-Ross, seeded fourth, was pitted against Drexel's Damindhi Udangawa after advancing to the second round with a bye.  Udangawa put up a tremendous fight, taking the first game 11-5 and the fourth 11-7.  The Bulldog sophomore was too much in the second, third and fifth games, though, conceding only five, nine, and seven points, respectively.  Norman-Ross will face Halie Daway in the Round of 16. 

The younger Ballaine (Annie), did not have the benefit of a bye, but nonetheless gave up fewer games than Norman-Ross.  Ballaine first knocked off Bates' Myriam Kelly with an 11-7, 11-7, 11-5 sweep.  Next up was Nicole Feshbach from William Smith College, located in Geneva, N.Y.  Feshbach put up more of a fight, taking the first tilt 11-7, but after that Ballaine tightened the reins and collected 11-7, 11-4 and 11-4 games to win the match and advance to face Harvard's Julianne Chu, who is ranked No. 47 nationally.

Finally Fast, who received a bye in the first round, was up against Brown's Mina Shakarsky.  Shakarsky put up a tough contest, but Fast pulled out the win 12-10, 11-7, 8-11, and, finally, 11-4.  Fast's next challenge will be Dartmouth's Nina Scott. 

Fans can view brackets and live draws, as well as other tournament information, on the tournament information page.


Report by Calvin Bohn '14, Yale Sports Publicity