CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - No. 43 Yale won the ECAC Division I Indoor Women’s Tennis Championship with a 4-0 victory over Dartmouth in the finals to improve to 8-1 on the season Sunday at Harvard University.
The Bulldogs won the doubles point and three singles matches to earn the victory. At No. 1 doubles, the duo of sophomore Vicky Brook and junior Lindsay Clark won 8-4. The doubles team of senior Jessica Rhee and sophomore Stephanie Kent defeated their opponents 8-5 at No. 2 doubles.
Playing No. 2 singles, Brook cruised to a 6-2, 6-1 win. At the No. 3 singles slot, Rhee rolled to a 7-5, 6-0 victory. Freshman Elizabeth Epstein won in straight sets 6-4, 6-3 at No. 5 singles.
The ECAC Championship was Yale's second consecutive tournament victory. After being the No. 1 seed and only needing to win two matches last year to win in the inaugural year of the tournament, the Bulldogs needed to win three matches this year as the No. 3 seed. Yale's No. 3 seeding served as motivation for the team, head coach Danielle Lund McNamara said.
"Coming into the tournament, I think everyone was really focused and very determined to prove to our peers that we are not the third best team in the Ivy League," McNamara said. "Our number three seeding really fired people up, and rightfully so. My message to them was, 'if that's not right, prove it on the court,' and they did. "
Yale defeated Boston University for the second time this season in the opening round 6-1. The Bulldogs then faced No. 62 Harvard in the semifinals in a rematch at the same site where the Bulldogs' Ivy League Title hopes were thwarted last season.
McNamara said she printed off nine copies of a picture of the scoreboard from last season's 5-2 loss to Harvard and handed them to the team on Friday night as motivation. The motivation worked as Yale responded with a 6-1 victory over Harvard in the semifinals Saturday.
With seven of the eight Ivy League teams competing in the ECAC Championship, the tournament served as a preview of the Ivy League season.
Rhee, who won her singles matches in all three ECAC Championship matches, said the win gives the Bulldogs confidence for the Ivy season by providing them the opportunity to see how they stack up against other Ivy League teams.
"This tournament was really good because we got to see all the other competition," Rhee said. "We're excited to go into the Ivy season. We have all the confidence in the world."
While the Ivy League season does not begin until Apr. 2 against No. 46 Princeton, the Bulldogs will continue to face tough competition in the interim. Next weekend, Yale plays host to No. 44 William & Mary and No. 19 Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs will then host Western Michigan before traveling to Florida to face No. 40 South Florida and Florida International over spring break. Yale will wrap up its non-Ivy slate at home against Quinnipiac March 19.
No. 1 Kent, (Y) vs. Scott, (D): 3-6 (UNF)
No. 2 Brook, (Y) def. Leonard, (D): 6-2, 6-1
No. 3 Rhee, (Y) def. Winingham, (D): 7-5, 6-0
No. 4 Petrelli, (Y) vs. Adler, (D): 6-4 (UNF)
No. 5 Epstein, (Y) def. Smyser, (D): 6-4, 6-3
No. 6 Clark, (Y) vs R. Reichel, (D): 5-7 (UNF)
No. 1 Brook/Clark, (Y) def. Scott/Winingham, (D): 8-4
No. 2 Rhee/Kent, (Y) def. Leonard/King, (D): 8-5
No. 3 Petrelli/Lederhandler, (Y) vs.. Smyser/Adler, (D): (UNF)
Report Filed by Steven Horn '10, Yale Sports Publicity