No. 49 Yale to Compete in ITA Division I Women’s Kick-Off Weekend

Jessica Rhee. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

The No. 49 Bulldogs will compete this weekend at the ITA Division I Women’s Kick-off Weekend in Durham, N.C.  Yale will kick off the weekend on Saturday against No. 1 Duke, the defending national champion.  Depending on the result of this match, the Bulldogs will either play No. 39 Wake Forest or No. 44 VCU. 

We are incredibly excited about the opportunity to play Duke and either Wake Forest or VCU this weekend,” head coach Danielle Lund McNamara said.  “These are the matches that you work so hard in practice and the off season to prepare for.  Our team is playing very confidently coming off of a great start in Boston last weekend, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how we compete in the ITA Kickoff.  My biggest challenge to them will be to get out of their own way, trust their preparation and just play.  If they do that the rest will take care of itself.”


The Season to Date

The Bulldogs started off the season with two victories last weekend in Boston.  Yale (2-0) won 5-2 over Boston College on Saturday before defeating No. 61 Boston University Sunday. 


2010 Schedule

Ten of Yale’s 19 spring semester opponents began the season nationally ranked (No. 1 Duke, No. 39 or No. 43 VCU, No. 32 Florida International, No. 44 Princeton, No. 47 William & Mary, No. 61 Boston University, No. 63 Brown, No. 65 Harvard and No. 75 South Florida).  A Jan. 30 match against No. 1 Duke, the defending national champions, highlights the nonconference schedule. 

Three of Yale’s seven Ivy League opponents begin the season ranked in the ITA National Team Rankings, making the Ivy League as competitive as it has been in years.  The Bulldogs will play host to defending Ivy League co-champions Princeton and Harvard in their attempt to win the Ivy League Title. 

Yale’s schedule also includes the ECAC Indoors from Feb. 12 to Feb. 14 at Harvard University.  This tournament will give Yale a preview of the Ivy League as Ivy League teams compete for the ECAC Indoor Championships.  The Bulldogs are the defending champions of this tournament after winning in 2009. 


Six Returning Players

The Bulldogs return six players from last season’s squad, including five starters.  Senior captain Sarah Lederhandler and senior Jessica Rhee have both started all four of their years at Yale.  Juniors Lindsay Clark and Stevi Petrelli have also been contributors as starters every season they have been at Yale.  Sophomore Vicky Brook posted an undefeated 7-0 record in the Ivy League at the No. 3 singles slot as a freshman.  Brook begins the spring season with sophomore newcomer Stephanie Kent ranked No. 41 in the ITA doubles rankings. 


Three New Additions

Yale adds three players to its squad this season.  Sophomore Stephanie Kent, a transfer from Cornell, had a successful fall season for the Bulldogs and begins the season ranked No. 87 in the ITA individual rankings.  Her successful fall season included impressive performances in both the ITA National Indoor Championships and ITA Northeast Regional Championships.  Kent also starts the season ranked No. 41 in the nation in doubles with partner Vicky Brook. 

Freshman Elizabeth Epstein, Yale’s blue chip recruit from Chicago, Ill., will start the season ranked No. 122 in the nation.  Yale also adds freshman Jenna Ritz to its roster. 


2009 ITA National Indoor Championships

Yale played host to the 2009 ITA National Indoor Championships from Nov. 5 to Nov. 8 at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center.  The 2009 ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, the nation’s premier collegiate indoor tennis tournament, is the second of three national championship events for college tennis this season.  The ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships featured a 32-player singles field and 16-team doubles field. 

The draws were made up of qualifiers from Wilson / ITA Regional Championships held across the country, the ITA National Small College Championships, top performers from the ITA All-American Championships, and at-large wild card selections made by the ITA National Tournament Committee. 

As host of the tournament, the Bulldogs received two singles bids and one doubles bid.   In the first round of the tournament, the No. 8 seeded singles player edged sophomore Stephanie Kent in three sets.  Kent then won a consolation singles match over Auburn’s Fan Chichieva, the No. 4 seed in the consolation singles draw. 

Kent and Brook competed in the ITA National doubles draw.  Rhee also competed in the ITA National singles draw. 


There’s No Place Like Home

The Bulldogs enter the 2010 season riding an impressive 20-match home winning streak dating back to 2007.  Yale has not lost at home with Danielle Lund McNamara as its head coach.

The Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center serves as home for the Bulldogs.  The fabulous eight-court facility complete with a spectacular viewing area and lobby has been serving as the home of Yale tennis since 2008. 

The Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center was made possible by the generous leadership gifts from Sam Heyman '60 and the estate of the late Joseph Cullman III. The project includes a new building with four new courts that are attached to the existing four Cullman Courts. Additionally, the renovation includes team locker rooms, a team room and coaches' offices. The new spacious lobby has been named by Larry Leeds `50 in honor of his son Cary '79. The eight courts have been named to recognize great figures in Yale Tennis history.


The Blue Aces Fan Club

The Blue Aces Fan Club is the official fan club for the Yale Bulldogs women's tennis team. It's free to join.


2008 Ivy League Champions

Yale posted an undefeated 7-0 record in the Ivy League in 2008 to win its first Ivy League Title since 1989 and its first outright Ivy League Title since 1981.  In their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance, the Bulldogs fell in the first round against No. 2 seed Georgia.  

The Bulldogs finished the year with an Intercollegiate Tennis Association East region ranking of No. 6 and an ITA national ranking of No. 74. The East Regional rank of No. 6 was the highest of an Ivy League team in the end of the year rankings. The Bulldogs trailed only William & Mary, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Virginia, Marshall and Virginia Tech in the end of the year regional rankings.

 

Report Filed by Steven Horn ’10, Yale Sports Publicity