Tag Archive: W. Tennis

  1. W. TENNIS | Bulldogs find success at Fab-Four Invitational


    Four members of Yale’s women’s tennis team traveled to the three-day Duke Fab-Four Invitational Tournament to begin its fall season.

    The tournament consists of 16 of the top teams in the country. The Bulldogs’ mission last weekend was to prove they are still a force to be reckoned with.

    “We were all really excited to play in this tournament because we have never gone to the Duke Invitational before,” captain Elizabeth Epstein ’13 said. “We just wanted to continue making a statement and proving to the rest of the colleges how good we are.”

    Last spring, the Elis enjoyed an incredibly successful season, making it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to then-No. 5 Stanford.

    Last weekend in North Carolina, the Bulldogs started their fall season by taking on grade-A competition. Four players made the trip down south: Epstein, Blair Seideman ’14, Ree Ree Li ’16 and Madeleine Henry ’16. Each competed in one of the three singles brackets at the tournament. Each bracket was intended to be of equal difficulty.

    In the blue bracket, Epstein, currently ranked No. 85 in the country, lost her first match to No. 55, Caroline Rohde-Moh of Ole Miss. Epstein more than made up for her loss, though, in the finals of the consolation bracket against Elizabeth Begley of the University of Texas. Epstein claimed the title in a tiebreak, 7–4, after splitting the first two sets.

    Epstein was pleased with her team’s performance and her own, but was already looking forward to the rest of what promises to be a productive fall.

    “It’s great that we have so many opportunities in the fall to play such highly ranked players,” Epstein said.

    In the black bracket, Li also fell in her debut 6–4, 6–1 to UNC’s Gina Suarez-Malguti. Li then made the semifinals of the consolation bracket, where she bowed out to Duke’s No. 68 Ester Goldfield. However, in the third place consolation match, Li put up a strong fight before succumbing to William & Mary’s Hope Johnson, 3–6, 6–3 (6).

    In the white bracket, both Seideman and Hamilton won their first-round matches. Seideman advanced to the quarterfinals, where she lost to Duke’s No. 35 Hanna Mar, 6–4, 6–4. However, in her next match, Seideman defeated UNC’s No. 71 Caroline Price in three sets to set up a fifth-place match on Sunday. She took fifth place in straight sets, 6–1, 6–4, against Miami’s No. 64 Lina Lileikite. Seideman emphasized that playing the best is the only way to become better.

    “This was a great opportunity for us to keep building our program up,” Seideman said. “We have more chances at beating top ranked players.”

    Meanwhile, Hamilton reached the semifinals of the white bracket, winning her first two matches as a Bulldog. In the semifinals, though, she lost out to Texas’ Noel Scott, 6–0, 6–2. On Sunday, Hamilton competed for third place against the other semifinalist, Alabama’s No. 10 Mary Anne Macfarlane. Hamilton and Macfarlane split the first two sets before Macfarlane topped Hamilton in a tiebreak, 7–5. A North Carolina native, Hamilton saw the weekend as a successful learning experience.

    “My last match was actually really good even though I lost it,” Hamilton said. “I feel like I learned a lot in my matches.”

    Doubles was the Bulldogs’ strength last season. It was rare for the team ever to drop a doubles point. In North Carolina, doubles matches were split into two brackets, A and B. As in singles, in both doubles brackets Yale matched up against extremely good competition.

    In the A bracket, the pairing of Epstein and Seideman took on Texas A&M’s Stefania Hristov and Wen Sun, falling just short, 8–6. However, the duo made it all the way to the consolation finals before losing out 8–4 against Julia Jones and Erin Stephens of Ole Miss.

    In the B bracket, the two freshmen Li and Hamilton paired up to win the consolation bracket. Li and Hamilton were edged out 8–5 by UNC’s Lauren McHale and Caroline Price in the first round before beating Hope Johnson and Anik Cepeda of William & Mary 9–7 to reach the consolation finals. In the finals, the duo knocked off Purdue’s Linda Xepoleas and Daniela Vidal 9–8 for the title.

    Next weekend, the women’s team will compete at the Cissie Leary Invitational in Philadelphia.

  2. W. TENNIS | Yale wins Ivy League Championship

    1 Comment

    The No. 30 Bulldogs (18–3, 6–0 Ivy) have won the Ivy League title for the second consecutive season with one match to spare thanks to a pair of 6–1 victories this weekend. The two victories pushed the Elis’ winning streak to eight matches.

    On Friday, Yale’s defeat of Harvard (10–7, 3–3 Ivy) ensured that the Bulldogs would claim at least a share of the Ivy League title. On Sunday, the Elis traveled to Dartmouth (8–12, 2–4 Ivy) in search of the Ivy League crown, which they placed firmly on their heads via a comprehensive 6–1 win.

    “It’s been 31 years since Yale women’s tennis has won two consecutive Ivy titles,” captain Steph Kent ’12 said. “That number has been keeping us motivated and has kept us going.”

    Against both the Crimson and the Big Green, the Bulldogs won the first four points of the match, eliminating the opportunity for their opponents to make a comeback. For the 19th and 20th time in their 21 matches, Yale jumped out to a 1–0 lead by winning the doubles point. Against Harvard, the Elis won the doubles point 2–1, with the No. 81 pairing of Amber Li ’15 and Vicky Brook ’12 dropping its match at No. 1. Yale claimed the doubles point against Dartmouth 3–0.

    Coach Danielle McNamara attributed the team’s success in doubles this year to many hours of practice.

    “We’ve spent an incredible amount of time in practice working on doubles,” McNamara said. “We’ve been working on doubles for years. Now, our players are really starting to understand how to play high-quality doubles.”

    Against Harvard, the Bulldogs quickly snatched wins at No. 2, No. 5 and No. 6. At No. 2, Blair Seideman ’14 pushed her winning streak to seven matches by dominating her opponent Camille Jania 6–1, 6–0. Jania had been 10–1 in the spring season prior to playing Seideman. Kent simply overmatched her opponent at No. 5, romping to a 6–2, 6–0 victory. And at No. 6, Annie Sullivan ’14 routed her opponent, cruising to a 6–1, 6–3 straight-set win.

    The remaining three singles matches all went to three sets. With the four points necessary for victory secured, each match entered a third-set tiebreaker. At No. 1, Elizabeth Epstein ’13 was just edged out by her opponent after herself holding several match points. Hanna Yu ’15 topped her opponent 10–7 at No. 3 while at No. 4, Vicky Brook ’12 came out on top, 10–8.

    On Sunday, the Bulldogs were even more superior in singles. Of the five singles matches that the Elis won, all were in straight sets. The only match that Yale dropped was at No. 5, where Kent came out the wrong side of an extremely close match, 7–6(5), 7–5.

    The Ivy League title was clinched at No. 3. Yu had no idea she was the decisive match until the last moment.

    “I didn’t really realize that I was the clincher until I won the last point and my teammates who were off the court just came running to hug me,” Yu said. “It was a really good feeling.”

    Despite already having secured the Ivy League title, Yale will meet No. 56 Brown (17–7, 3–3 Ivy) in the regular season finale on April 28. It would not be in the character of this team to take the match lightly.

    “We’ve never been in this situation where we’ve clinched the title with one match to go,” McNamara said. “We’ll be ready for the next one, though. Brown at home still has NCAA implications.”

    Yale will meet Brown at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center on April 28 at 12 p.m.

  3. W. TENNIS | Elis look to clinch Ivy title

    Leave a Comment

    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.

  4. W. TENNIS | Elis take New York

    Leave a Comment

    The No. 28 Bulldogs (16–3, 4–0 Ivy) ruled the Empire State this weekend by defeating Columbia (12–5, 3–2 Ivy) and Cornell (9–8, 1–4 Ivy). The victories stretched the Elis’ winning streak to six, matching their largest of the season.

    On Saturday, Yale eased past Columbia 5–2. The Elis secured the four points necessary to win the match before Columbia tallied its first.

    For the 17th time in 18 matches, the Bulldogs won the doubles point to jump out to a 1–0 lead. At No. 2, the 86th-ranked pair of Elizabeth Epstein ’13 and Annie Sullivan ’14 made quick work of its opponents, 8–1. Shortly thereafter, Yale wrapped up the doubles point at No. 3 with Blair Seideman ’14 and captain Stephanie Kent ’12 winning 8–4. At No. 1, the 75th-ranked duo of Amber Li ’15 and Vicky Brook ’12 fell 8–5.

    Once again up 1–0, the Elis quickly achieved the three additional points they needed for the win. Playing at No. 6, Sullivan bulldozed her opponent 6–1, 6–0 for the second point. Brook continued the onslaught at No. 4, where she won 6–1, 6–3. Including her 6–2, 6–1 demolition on Sunday, Brook moved to 9–1 in her last 10 matches.

    “I’ve found a happy medium with my game,” Brook said. “Also there’s the element of this being my last season. I’m taking the court with a happy and positive frame of mind, making the most of my last opportunity out here. I’ve been having a ton of fun, and it’s reflecting in my game.”

    Kent sealed the match victory at No. 5 with a 6–2, 6–3 straight-set win.

    On Sunday, Yale swept past the Big Red, 7–0.

    The Bulldogs took their usual 1–0 advantage by winning the doubles point. All three pairs won their matches. The closest was at No. 1, where Li and Brook won 8–4.

    In singles, only Hanna Yu’s ’15 match went into three sets. Playing at No. 3, Yu dropped the first set 6–3 to her opponent, Ryann Young. She stormed back to take the second set 6–4 before winning the third set tiebreaker 10–7 to claim the match.

    Against Cornell, Seideman moved up to play at No. 2, where she out-dueled her adversary 6–0, 6–4. On the previous day against Columbia, Seideman had pulled out a tough match at No. 3, 7–6(2), 7–6(7). She stressed the importance of her narrow win, especially after falling just short in a similar match against No. 9 University of Miami (Fla.) in March.

    “The second set was mentally a breakthrough for me because I had lost the match in Miami when it was that close,” Seideman, a staff photographer for the News, said. “It was nice to come through like that in an Ivy League match.”

    In Saturday’s victory against Columbia, team members stressed the importance of the team’s depth. The match was won with the doubles point and the singles points from No. 4, No. 5, and No. 6. Although Columbia has a very strong line-up for the top positions, the Elis were able to pull out the victory because of a full team effort, top to bottom.

    The Bulldogs’ two victories were doubly important as No. 48 Brown (16–6, 2–2 Ivy) lost both to Columbia and Cornell. The Bears were considered to be the Elis’ toughest competitors for the Ivy title. While the team was certainly aware that Cornell had beaten Brown on Saturday, that knowledge was not necessarily the impetus for the trouncing of the Big Red.

    “We were coming into the weekend really excited about both matches regardless,” coach Danielle McNamara said. “We understand the target really is on our back. We are getting up for every single match.”

    The Bulldogs will be back in action against Harvard at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center on Friday, April 20 at 2 p.m.

  5. W. TENNIS | Elis take two

    Leave a Comment

    No. 27 Yale (14–3, 2–0 Ivy) kicked off its Ivy season with victories over Penn (5–9, 0–3 Ivy) and No. 69 Princeton (8–10, 1–2 Ivy). The twin triumphs stretched the team’s winning streak to four matches.

    The Tigers proved considerably tougher competition than the Quakers. Before downing Princeton 4-3 on Saturday, the Bulldogs bageled Penn 7-0 on Friday. The Elis took their customary 1-0 lead by winning the doubles point 2-1. This was the 15th time in 16 matches that the Elis grabbed the doubles point to jump out to a 1-0 lead. And the doubles victory was a sign of things to come, as Yale won all six singles matches.

    No. 1 Elizabeth Epstein played the only three-set match against both Penn and Princeton. In both, she lost the first set 6-1 and went on to win the match.

    “In both matches my opponent played well in the first set,” Epstein said. “I made a few adjustments going into the second set that helped me and made the difference.”

    Penn’s No. 1, Sol Eskenazi, had lost just once this spring prior to facing Epstein. Epstein said that Eskenazi’s game was difficult because of the spin she put on her shots. Combined with the gusting winds, Eskenazi’s high, bouncing balls caused Epstein problems.

    No. 5 Vicky Brook ’12 enjoyed the most dominant weekend of any Yale player, losing a total of just three games in the four sets she played.

    “Playing at home and getting used to the windier conditions here helps me focus in and make smart decisions about shot selection,” Brook said. “That helps me to construct the points effectively and to finish at the net.”

    The other player to emerge from the weekend 2-0 was No. 3 Blair Seideman ’14, who won three of her four sets 6-1. Seideman explained that the beginning of Ivy League play prompted her to raise her game.

    “When I go into Ivy season it feels like a totally different part of the season, like the most important part,” Seideman said.

    On Saturday, Princeton provided fierce opposition before falling to the Elis 4-3. For the 16th time in 17 matches Yale clinched the doubles point, 3-0. That point proved crucial, as Princeton mounted a furious comeback in the singles matches to complicate matters.

    After No. 2 Hanna Yu ’15 lost 6-0, 6-1, Seideman and Brook both won 6-1, 6-1 to put the Bulldogs in a commanding 3-1 lead. However, No. 4 captain Steph Kent ’12 fell to Princeton’s Katherine Flanigan 6-3, 6-3 while at No. 6 Annie Sullivan ’14 came up just short in a 7-6(5), 7-5 defeat. The two points for Princeton tied the match at three. The last match to finish was Epstein’s.

    At five-all in the decisive third set, Epstein broke her opponent, Hilary Bartlett, to serve for the match at 6-5. After going up 40-0 in that game, Bartlett fought back to knot the game at deuce.

    “I wasn’t nervous, per se,” Epstein said. “I think she played a couple good points in there. It was a pretty high quality game. Once it got back to 40-all, I just tried to focus on how I got up in the first place.”

    And she did just that, pulling out the game to secure the match for the Bulldogs. Epstein said she would not soon forget clinching the match in front of all her teammates and fans.

    Next week, the Bulldogs will travel to New York to take on Columbia and Cornell. Coach Danielle McNamara is particularly wary of the threat Columbia poses.

    “Columbia is a much-improved team from last year,” McNamara said. “They have had very solid results this year. From what I’ve seen, they’re the strongest they’ve been since I’ve been at Yale.”

    Columbia beat Dartmouth on Friday 4-3 but fell to Harvard 4-3 on Saturday.

  6. W. TENNIS | No. 27 Elis move into Ivy play

    Leave a Comment

    The No. 27 women’s tennis team (12–3, 0–0 Ivy) will finally begin Ivy League play when they face Penn (5­–6, 0–1) today at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center. Saturday at noon, the Bulldogs will take on the No. 70 Princeton Tigers (8–8, 1–0).

    Having defeated Quinnipiac and Rutgers last week, Yale enters Ivy League play on a two-match winning streak. In contrast, Penn has lost its last two. All indications point toward a victory to kick off the Ancient Eight season. One match to watch will be at the No. 1 spot, where Elizabeth Epstein ’13 will take on Penn No. 1 Sol Eskenazi, who has lost just once this spring.

    Penn’s schedule this season has not featured many highly-ranked teams. In fact, Yale will be the best team the Quakers face this spring.

    On Saturday, the Bulldogs will undoubtedly face a sterner test against the Tigers. Earlier this season, the Elis defeated Princeton 4–2 in the finals of the ECAC Indoor Championship.

    Unlike the Quakers, the Tigers have played top-notch opposition this spring in preparation for the Ivy season. Princeton has matched up against No. 13 Georgia Tech and No. 6 Miami (Fla.). The Tigers lost both matches.

    Vicky Brook ’12 said that Yale knows little about Penn but will go into that match looking to impose its style of play. As for Princeton, the Bulldogs are ready for a battle. In their match for the ECAC Indoor Championship, five of the six singles matches went to three sets.

    “We are very aware of the way that Princeton plays, pretty baseline-oriented,” Brook said. “They’re counterpunchers, quick around the court, and they get a lot of balls back. If we’re mentally as well as physically strong, we should come out on top.”

    Entering Ivy League play, team members expressed satisfaction with their performance so far this season. But the team fully expects to be crowned Ivy champions.

    “We are the highest-ranked team in the Ivies, so there is a big target on our backs,” Brook said. “We’ve been working extremely hard until now, and we’re ready to put that hard work into action.”

    Today’s match begins at 2 p.m.

  7. W. TENNIS | Elis slay Scarlet Knights

    Leave a Comment

    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.

  8. W.TENNIS | Yale sweeps Quinnipiac, 7-0

    Leave a Comment

    After intensive training in Florida over spring break, the women’s tennis team had a clean 7–0 sweep against Quinnipiac yesterday.

    The No. 26 women’s tennis team (11–3, 0–0 Ivy) faced Quinnipiac (3–7) as it prepares to begin Ivy League play. Until facing the Bulldogs, the Bobcats had not played any ranked teams this season, and Yale’s victory added to its 5-0 home record this season.

    Yale dominated the match from the very beginning. The top-seed duo of Annie Sullivan ’14 and Elizabeth Epstein ’13 started off the match by winning with a score of 8-4. At the second seed. Amber Li ’15 and Vicky Brook ’12 defeated their opponents 8–4, and at the third seed, Sarah Guzick ’13 and Blair Seideman ’14 swept the match 8–0. (Seideman is a staff photographer for the News.) Winning all three games gave the Elis a doubles point heading into singles play.

    The Elis maintained their upper hand in the singles competition. At the fourth seed, Sullivan walked away from the courts first with an impressive 6–0, 6–0 victory. With strong serves and forehands, sixth-seeded Li finished soon after Sullivan, winning one more point for Elis with scores of 6–0 and 6–1. The other four players also won by big margins, taking all the remaining points for the team.

    “We had some specific things we wanted to work on today, and everybody did a good job doing those things,” head coach Danielle McNamara said. “Complacency was one of the things we wanted to focus on. It wasn’t a tough match, but we fought hard from start to finish.”

    Seideman agreed that this match was valuable in sharpening the team’s aggressiveness. With the Ivy League season quickly approaching, the team viewed the match as practice to achieve the Ivy League title that they claimed last season, she said.

    “I was glad to be back from spring break and anxious to get on the court again before going on the Ivy season,” Seideman said. “We are working on how to become a more aggressive team. That’s going to help us with the big matches in April.”

    In addition to honing the team’s aggressiveness and attacking complacency, McNamara highlighted the importance of experimenting with different playing styles.

    “After the next game with Rutgers, we will head right into the Ivy season,” McNamara said. “Hopefully we can repeat [the Ivy League Championship win from] last year.”

    Bulldogs will face Rutgers on Friday at 3:30 p.m. in the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center.

  9. W. TENNIS | Miami proves too hot for Bulldogs

    Leave a Comment

    After taking down Stony Brook and Boston University two weeks ago, the No. 21 Yale women’s tennis team (10–3, 0–0 Ivy) traveled to Miami this weekend and kept rolling against Florida International University (4–12, 0–0 Sun Belt) before the No. 12 Miami (Florida) Hurricanes (10–1, 3–0 ACC) brought the Bulldogs’ three-match winning streak to a halt.

    Although the Elis intended to play No. 20 Mississippi in Miami on March 15, that match was cancelled due to incessant rain. The cancellation deprived the Bulldogs of the opportunity to test themselves against the team one spot above them in the national rankings. Additionally, the Rebels boast the nation’s No. 12 player, Kristi Boxx.

    The rain also affected Friday’s match against FIU. Due to bad conditions throughout the morning, the doubles point was foregone to expedite the match once the courts became playable. Had the teams tied at three through their six singles matches, they would have played the doubles point. As it was, the Bulldogs emerged 4–2 winners.

    At Nos. 1, 3, and 4, the Bulldogs cruised to a 3–0 advantage, with Elizabeth Epstein ’13, Blair Seideman ’14 and Vicky Brook ’12, respectively, stroking their ways to straight-set wins. (Seideman is a staff photographer for the News.) Annie Sullivan ’14 closed out the Yale victory with a straight-set success of her own at No. 5.

    Saturday brought the Elis’ most difficult test this season. The No. 12 Miami Hurricanes were in top form, having routed No. 10 Baylor on March 15. The Bulldogs could not avert their storm.

    “I was really impressed with Miami,” head coach Danielle McNamara said. “They were the best team we’ve played this year.”

    Yale players said that the Hurricanes emerged victorious by playing the big points well and coming out on top of the close matches.

    Although Yale possesses higher-ranked doubles partnerships, the Hurricanes began the match by ending Yale’s 11-match doubles winning streak. Yet several of the singles matches were tight. Sullivan continued her fine form with a win at No. 6, Seideman took a set off her opponent at No. 4 and at No. 5, Brook fell narrowly, 7–6, 6–3. The team said it took a lot of positives from its loss, particularly in advance of upcoming conference play.

    “Even though we lost to Miami 6–1, if we come out with that much energy, drive, and intensity, considering that we definitely had the strongest schedule this year among the Ivies, we’ll be in a really good position,” captain Steph Kent ’12 said.

    Due to a debilitating virus, Kent was precluded from playing in Yale’s victory over FIU and was admittedly struggling for energy against Miami. Considering Kent’s standout performances this season when healthy — she was 11–1 going into the match — the entire team felt the effect of her illness.

    Now near the conclusion of its nonconference schedule, the Bulldogs stand 10–3 and have jumped significantly in the national rankings. Two of the team’s three losses came against top-ranked teams, No. 18 Michigan and No. 12 Miami, and the team notched victories over the likes of No. 19 Notre Dame.

    “Other than our loss to Syracuse, we only lost to top-15 teams, and we had our upset over Notre Dame, which is top-20,” Seideman said. “Our good performance in the last few months will give us the confidence we need for the Ivy League.”

    The Bulldogs take the court next on March 28 with a home match against Quinnipiac at 5 p.m.

  10. W. TENNIS | Yale goes 1-1 for weekend

    Leave a Comment

    This weekend, the No. 25 women’s tennis team (7-2 overall, 0-0 Ivy) underwent some growing pains. On the heels of an impressive 6-1 win over No. 59 College of William and Mary (2-7 overall, 0-1 CAA) on Saturday, Syracuse (8-4 overall, 3-1 Big East) took down the Bulldogs 4-3 on Sunday.

    Against the College of William and Mary, the Elis began the match well. Despite No. 27 ranked duo Vicky Brook ’12 and Hanna Yu ’15 falling at No. 1, Yale took the doubles point for the eighth consecutive match to go ahead 1-0.

    Going into singles play, the ship kept right on sailing, as the Elis dropped only one match. Yale head coach Danielle McNamara said that her team did a good job pulling away early.

    “One of the things I thought we did well that we had made a priority was getting off to a good start in the singles after the doubles matches,” McNamara said. “Getting the 6-1 win over them was pretty solid.”

    On Sunday, though, unranked Syracuse nipped the Bulldogs. Again, though, the Elis achieved the early edge by winning their ninth consecutive doubles point, 2-1. Yale’s No. 2 pair, No. 37 ranked Elizabeth Epstein ’13 and Annie Sullivan ’14, sealed the match’s opening point with an 8-5 win.

    With the momentum firmly on the Elis’ side of the court, Yu put Yale up 2-0 with a 7-5, 6-2 straight-set win over Syracuse’s Maddie Kobelt at No. 2.

    Blair Seideman ’14 gained her team’s third point with a routine 6-2, 6-3 undressing of Breanna Bachini at No. 3. Seideman said that she matched up well with Bachini.

    “She hit everything a million miles an hour,” Seideman said. “She made a lot of winners but also made a ton of errors. If you’re strong enough from the back, then you can kind of grind her down.”

    Just one point away from victory, the Bulldogs looked to either No. 5 Sullivan or No. 6 Amber Li ’15 to seal the deal. After Sullivan’s tight loss at No. 5 tied the match at 3-3, the outcome depended on Li’s match. After splitting the first two sets, Li and her Syracuse counterpart, Aleah Marrow, dueled in the third and deciding set. After Marrow went up 3-0, Li showed great resolve fighting back to take the lead briefly at 4-3. The two traded breaks until they arrived at a deciding tiebreaker.

    “The tiebreaker wasn’t pretty tennis on my part,” Li said. “I got a little nervous. She just went for her shots more than I did and I played more defensively than she did.”

    Yale’s loss was due to a combination of Syracuse’s aggressive play and its own lackluster preparation, team members said.

    To compound the Elis’ lack of preparation, the Orange forced the issue, playing an aggressive brand of tennis including a heavy dosage of serve-and-volley play, team members explained. Syracuse rattled the Bulldogs.

    “Every singles player came out firing on the Syracuse team,” captain Steph Kent ’12 said. “They came out energized and loud, and they had a lot of fans there supporting them.”

    Despite this weekend’s split, Yale remains the class of the Ivy League. The team has no doubt that its loss to Syracuse will be the one and only wake-up call it requires.

    “You can’t expect when you’re 25th in the country to get any easy matches,” McNamara said. “If we have to learn it this way, then so be it. We still have an awful lot of tennis left to play.”

    Next weekend, the Bulldogs will host Stony Brook at home on Sunday, March 4 at 4 p.m.

  11. W. TENNIS | Elis take ECAC championship

    Leave a Comment

    In beating Princeton on Sunday to win the ECAC Indoor Championship for a fourth consecutive year, the No. 25 Yale women’s tennis team (6-1 overall, 0-0 Ivy) continued its torrid start to the spring season.

    Hosted by Yale at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center, the tournament featured eight teams from the conference and three days of play. On Friday, the No. 1-seeded Bulldogs defeated No. 8-seeded Fairleigh Dickinson (4-4, 0-0 NEC) 7-0, including a clean 3-0 sweep of the doubles matches to win the doubles point.

    In the semifinals on Saturday, the opponent was different, but the score line remained the same as the Elis ran over No. 54 Boston College (6-4, 1-1 ACC) 7-0.

    On Sunday, Yale met No. 43 Princeton in the finals. The Tigers (5-2, 0-0 Ivy) were the No. 3 seed in the ECAC tournament, and Yale’s opponent in the finals last year. Princeton proved more formidable opposition, but the Bulldogs pulled out a 4-2 victory.

    Yale secured the doubles point, as all three pairs won their matches. In fact, the Eli duos won all nine of their matches last weekend. At No. 1, Vicky Brook ’12 and Hanna Yu ’15, ranked No. 27 nationally, pulled out an 8-7 triumph over Princeton’s No. 1 doubles pair, Hilary Bartlett and Lindsay Graff. At Nos. 2 and 3, Yale’s No. 37 pair Elizabeth Epstein ’13 and Annie Sullivan ’14, and No. 41 pair captain Steph Kent ’12 and Blair Seideman ’14 enjoyed a bit more comfort, tallying 8-4 and 8-5 wins, respectively. (Seideman is a staff photographer for the News.)

    Leading 1-0, all the Bulldogs needed for the championship were three of their six singles match points. Singles play got underway at No. 3, where Yu defeated her Princeton counterpart Rachel Saiontz 1-6, 6-1, 6-1, to give the Elis a 2-0 lead. The story was similar at No. 1, where Epstein battled back against Bartlett to win 2-6, 6-2, 6-1. Epstein chalked up her comeback to more aggressive play.

    “I was a lot more aggressive going into the second set,” Epstein said. “[Bartlett] is great at mixing up her shots, and I just tried to take the high balls on the rise. She’s very good at mixing up the pace, and I was able to handle that much better in the second and third sets.”

    After tight losses for Seideman and Sullivan at Nos. 2 and 3, respectively, Kent gave her team the fourth point it needed with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 success at No. 4.

    Much like Epstein, in the tournament-clinching match, Kent took the initiative. She said her opponent lacked a serious weapon in her game, which put the pressure on Kent to win every point.

    Yale head coach Danielle McNamara agreed with her captain and stressed her team’s patience and grit in topping a tough-to-beat Princeton team.

    “Our players were just very gritty and determined to get out there and play really long points and do whatever it took to win the matches,” McNamara said. “Princeton makes a lot of balls and gives you a lot of chances to beat yourself. You have to play aggressively against them but you also have to make your shots.”

    Already this spring, the Bulldogs have defeated No. 21 Notre Dame, No. 31 Oklahoma, and No. 32 Arkansas. Their only loss came against No. 10 Michigan in a nail-biter, 4-3. Currently, Yale is the highest ranked Ivy League team at No. 25 in the country, followed by Brown at No. 38 and Princeton at No. 43.

    Yale’s lofty ranking has both positive and negative aspects. On the one hand, stepping up and beating the likes of Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Princeton is the only true way for the team to test itself.

    “Even though we won ECAC last year, we are ranked higher this year and we’re fairing much better against the higher nationally ranked teams,” Seideman said. “Beating Princeton makes a statement and proves we deserve to be the highest ranked Ivy.”

    But moving forward, all of Yale’s opponents will be looking to take down the giants.

    “To be honest, I feel like every match is going to be a test,” McNamara said. “We’ve had a fair amount of success so far this season, so every team we play is going to be gunning for us. We need to consistently show up.”

    Next weekend, Yale travels to Syracuse, N.Y., to take on No. 60 William & Mary and No. 73 Syracuse.