NEW HAVEN, Conn. - No. 36 Yale (8-1) will look to extend its 22-match home winning streak this weekend when it hosts No. 32 William & Mary (4-3) Saturday and No. 20 Vanderbilt (3-1) Sunday at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center.
Coming off an exciting weekend where they won the ECAC Indoor Championships, the Bulldogs will play their fifth and sixth matches of the season against ranked teams. The matches will be Yale’s biggest challenge to the home winning streak since the streak began under head coach Danielle Lund McNamara in 2007.
“We are so excited to have two top teams in Vanderbilt and William & Mary coming to play us at home in the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center,” McNamara said. “Our team is feeling very confident after the ECAC win last week and we’re looking to take that into our matches this weekend. We’re definitely going to have to play well and fight hard to get the wins, but we’ve proven we’re capable of this already this season.”
“Meet the Bulldogs Day”
Yale women’s tennis head coach Danielle Lund McNamara announced that the public will have the opportunity to greet her No. 36 2010 team at the “Meet the Bulldogs Day” this Saturday at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center following the conclusion of Yale’s match against No. 32 William & Mary.
Free signed posters will be handed out and light snacks and beverages will be available for free during the event, which is expected to last about an hour. The Yale players and coaches will be available for autographs and photos throughout the Tennis Center.
“We hope to get a lot of fans out to the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center to watch the matches and support our team,” McNamara said. “Saturday’s “Meet the Bulldogs Day” will hopefully bring a lot of kids out to the tennis center so they can get a chance to meet the players and pick up their free poster signed by the team. Our goal in doing events like this is to promote college tennis in the New Haven area and to get people (kids in particular) excited about playing tennis in general. Admission is FREE and snacks and drinks will be provided!”
The Season to Date
The Bulldogs started off the season with two victories in Boston. Yale (5-1) won 5-2 over Boston College on January 23 before defeating No. 61 Boston University January 24.
Yale then competed in the ITA Division I Women’s Kick-off weekend January 30 and 31. Yale suffered its first loss at the hands of the No. 1 team in the country when the Bulldogs lost 7-0 to defending national champion Duke. Yale then bounced back the next day and made a statement with a 6-1 victory over No. 39 Wake Forest.
The Bulldogs swept their home openers on Feb. 5 and Feb. 7. Yale defeated UMass 7-0 on Feb. 5 and then extended its home winning streak to 22 matches with a 4-3 victory over Memphis on Feb. 7.
Last weekend, the Bulldogs won the ECAC Indoor Championships at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. Seeded No. 3 in the tournament, Yale showed up with something to prove. The Bulldogs defeated Boston University 6-1 in the tournament opener and then rolled to a 6-1 victory over Harvard in the semifinals. Yale then won its second consecutive ECAC Indoor Championships with a 4-0 victory over Dartmouth in the finals.
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 22-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.
Friday’s match will be the Blue Aces Kickoff Event. Yale women’s tennis’ fan club, the Blue Aces will allow its members to play for free on the Yale courts following the completion of the match until 10 p.m. All fans have to do is bring a racket and wear non-marking sneakers. To join Blue Aces, fans can go to http://www.yaleblueaces.com or sign up at the match - it's free to join and members will get free pizza after the doubles.
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.
Filed by Steven Horn ’10, Yale Sports Publicity