This weekend, No. 30 Yale (16-3, 4-0 Ivy) has a chance to claim the Ivy League championship outright. By beating Harvard (9-6, 2-2 Ivy) on Friday and Dartmouth (8-10, 2-2 Ivy) on Sunday, the Bulldogs would punch their ticket to the NCAA tournament with one match to spare.
The Elis are in such a commanding position in the Ivy League standings due both to their own undefeated record in the league and also to No. 56 Brown’s stunning losses to Cornell (9-8, 1-4 Ivy) and No. 73 Columbia (12-5, 3-2 Ivy). Yale will host Brown on April 28 in both teams’ Ivy season finale. Before Ivy play began, team members said that they anticipated that date as the probable decider of the Ancient Eight crown.
While the Elis are certainly favorites against the Crimson and the Big Green, both matches have hurdles to overcome. For one, the Cantabs are extremely aggressive.
“Harvard’s style is similar to Columbia’s,” said captain Steph Kent ’12. “They’re big hitters, not the most consistent players. They all hit pretty flat, and they’ve got good hard court games.”
One match to watch on Friday will be at No. 2 in singles. Playing at positions No. 2 and No. 3, Harvard’s Camille Jania has lost just once this season, amassing a record of 10-1. However, Jania will most likely come up against one of the Bulldog’s hottest players at No. 2, Blair Seideman ’14, who is on a six-match winning streak. Seideman is a staff photographer for the News.
Dartmouth is in somewhat of a rebuilding phase. According to team members, after splitting the Ivy League crown with Yale last year, the Big Green graduated several important seniors. Now, Dartmouth boasts only one senior on its roster. Nonetheless, the Bulldogs are ready for a fight.
“They are a weaker team than last year, but we’re going to fight hard,” Kent said. “They definitely have a lot more fight than most Ivy League teams.”
So far this season, Dartmouth’s results have been consistent. All ten of the Big Green’s losses have come at the hands of ranked opponents. All eight of its victories have come against unranked teams.
Still, the Elis can expect a difficult match at No. 3 against the Big Green’s Janet Liu. Liu has gone to three sets in four of her last six matches.
If the Bulldogs were to beat Harvard on Friday, they would claim at least a share of the Ivy League title. Emerging from the weekend with two victories would clinch the title outright.
The Bulldogs will take the court against Harvard tomorrow at 2 p.m. at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center.