W. TENNIS | Elis one win away from the title

Lindsay Clark ’11, above, and Annie Sullivan ’14 clinched the doubles point against Dartmouth.
Lindsay Clark ’11, above, and Annie Sullivan ’14 clinched the doubles point against Dartmouth. Photo by Cristiana Manole.

With commanding victories over archrival Harvard and a strong Dartmouth squad, 6–1 and 5–2 respectively, the women’s tennis team (20–4, 5–1 Ivy) is now one step closer to an Ivy championship.

The Bulldogs are currently tied with the Big Green for first place in the Ancient Eight, and can clinch at least a share of the title and a berth in the NCAA tournament with a win next Saturday against Brown (15–8, 4–2). A Dartmouth loss would give the Bulldogs sole possession of the title. The Bulldogs’ last title came in 2008.

“We have managed to mentally prepare ourselves for every match in such a way that we have been able to play our best tennis when needed,” Vicky Brook ’12 said.

The match on Friday against the Crimson began with Annie Sullivan ’14 and Lindsay Clark ’11 losing 8–2 at the No. 1 doubles spot. Kim Szokol ’14 and Blair Seideman ’14 evened the doubles score at 1–1 after winning 8–4 at the No. 3 position. At the No. 2, Elizabeth Epstein ’13 and Brook trailed 5–6 late in the match, but won the next three games to give the Bulldogs the doubles point.

In singles play, Harvard’s Holly Cao tied the overall score at 1–1 after beating Brook at the No. 1 spot 6–3, 6–3. But the Bulldogs dominated the rest of the match and won the next five points.

Seideman defeated Kristin Norton 6–2, 6–0 and extended her singles win streak to eight matches. Epstein then increased the Bulldogs’ lead to 3–1 by beating Hideko Tachibana 6–2, 7–6. Sullivan clinched the match for Yale, winning 6–3, 1–6, 6–2 against Natalie Blosser.

Captain Stevi Petrelli ’11 won in straight sets 6–4, 6–4 and Stephanie Kent ’12 took the last singles match 6–3, 4–6, 10–4. The 6–1 win moved the Bulldogs into second place in the Ivy League and set up a showdown against an undefeated Dartmouth team on Sunday.

“We knew what was on the line going into the match and got really fired up to play our best tennis,” Petrelli said. “We also had a ton of confidence coming off the win against Harvard.”

The Bulldogs jumped out to an early 1–0 lead against the Big Green by taking all three doubles matches. Brook and Epstein handily won 8–3 while Clark and Sullivan clinched the doubles point with an 8–6 win. The duo of Seideman and Szokol completed the sweep for the Bulldogs, also winning 8–6.

The Elis quickly won three straight singles points to clinch the overall match. Kent took her match at the No. 4 spot 6–4, 6–0 and Sullivan put the Bulldogs ahead 3–0 with a 7–5, 6–4 victory. Seideman clinched the match 6–4, 6–0 to extend her singles win streak to nine and remain undefeated in Ivy play.

The Big Green then scored two points after Petrelli lost in two sets and Epstein lost her tiebreaker 11–9. Brook made it a 5–2 Yale victory after a thrilling third set win over Molly Scott.

“We are extremely confident going into this weekend,” Petrelli said. “We honestly believe the only thing standing between us and a win Saturday is ourselves.”

Petrelli, Clark and Silia DeFilippis ’11, the three seniors on the team, were honored before the match, the last home game of their collegiate careers.

Yale will face Brown this Saturday at noon.

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