On Friday, the No. 26 Bulldogs (12–3) stroked their way to a 6–1 victory over Rutgers (8–8, 2–2 Big East) and moved to 6–0 at home this season.
Coming off the win, the team is expected to move back into the top 25 in the April 3 Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings. Coach Danielle McNamara, recently named 2011 USTA New England College Coach of the Year, said aggressive play helped the team to excel.
“Certain people performed better than others, but the people that played really well, what they did is they were aggressive, they took the ball on the rise and they were really dictating play,” McNamara said. “The most successful people did those things.”
Considering Yale has lost the doubles point in only one match so far this season, the Bulldogs’ doubles effort against the unranked Scarlet Knights began shakily. Two matches were close, but Yale eventually secured the doubles point 3–0.
At No. 3, captain Stephanie Kent ’12 and Blair Seideman ’14 were first off the court, romping to an 8–2 win. (Seideman is a staff photographer for the News.) At No. 1, Vicky Brook ’12 and Amber Li ’14 secured the doubles point by battling to a 9–8(2) tiebreaker triumph. At No. 2, the 61st-ranked pair of Elizabeth Epstein ’13 and Annie Sullivan ’14 edged to a 9–7 victory to close out doubles play.
In singles, the Bulldogs bullied their way to success. Playing at No. 5, Sullivan made quickest work of her opponent and cruised to a 6–2, 6–1 straight-set victory. Sullivan said her momentum helped her secure the match.
“I was super focused and kind of confident after pulling out the doubles coming back from behind,” Sullivan said.
Brook and Li secured the match win for Yale at No. 4 and No. 6, respectively. Utilizing her big serve, Brook powered her way to a 6–4, 6–4 sweep, while Li confidently dispatched her opponent 6–4, 6–1. Those two wins, which occurred within moments of each other, gave the Elis the third and fourth points they needed to win.
At No. 1, Epstein dealt with hard-hitting Vanessa Petrini, 6–3, 6–3. Although Petrini jumped out to an early lead, Epstein tweaked her own game to take control of the match.
“I knew her game going into the match because I played against her in the fall season at regionals,” Epstein said. “I got off to a slow start at 2–0 and had to make an adjustment to get more balls back on the court and make the points longer.”
The Scarlet Knights received some consolation at No. 3. Kent lost a match-deciding tiebreaker 10–6 after splitting the first two sets. Opponent Morgan Ivey used her superior height to serve her way to a 6–3 first set win. But in the second set, Kent figured out Ivey’s game and used well-placed groundstokes and speed to her advantage to dominate the second set 6–2. But in the tiebreaker, Ivey held strong and Kent hit a bad patch to take the loss.
No. 2 Seideman was the last to finish. In the first set, Seideman dominated on her way to a 6–3 win, often using the topspin on her forehand to draw her opponent off the court and then stepping into her backhand on the short balls to finish points. In the second set, Rutgers’ Jennifer Holzberg battled back admirably, fighting to a 7–6(5) victory with her teammates looking on. Seideman’s intensity clinched the match deciding tiebreaker 10–6.
Yale begins Ivy League play at home against Penn at 2 p.m. Friday and continues at noon Saturday against Princeton.