NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale women's tennis team (20-4, 5-1 Ivy) got a huge win Sunday in its showdown against Dartmouth (13-8, 5-1 Ivy) at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center. With the 5-2 victory, the Bulldogs retained control of their own fate, and a win against No. 45 Brown (15-8, 4-2 Ivy) next weekend would give the team at least a share of the Ivy League title and also the league's automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.
A win would guarantee the team the league's playoff berth by virtue of its head-to-head victory against Dartmouth, the only other team in the Ivy League with only one loss. Should Yale lose, though, the path to the automatic bid would become much murkier. First, a Dartmouth loss would be necessary, because otherwise the Big Green would win the league outright. Assuming losses by both Dartmouth and Yale, though, there would be a five-way tie for first in the league, with Yale, Dartmouth, Princeton, Harvard and Brown all standing at 5-2.
According to the Ivy League sports website, the tiebreaking procedure with three or more teams involved calls for a comparison of head-to-head records in Ivy League play amongst the group. However, since all five teams have 2-2 records against the other four teams, the tiebreak would move on to the next step, where the team with the best head-to-head record in all matches in the spring season would come out on top. Since the tied teams played each other in the ECAC Indoor Team Championship, and didn't all have identical records, this tiebreaker can be used. Yale came out on top, winning the Championship with a 2-0 record against the other tied teams, and each other team lost at least one match. So Yale is guaranteed the Ivy League automatic bid with either a win or a loss and a loss by Dartmouth.
In the match against Dartmouth, Yale took the first point with a sweep in doubles. At No. 1, the duo of senior Lindsay Clark and freshman Annie Sullivan took an 8-6 victory, improving to 3-1 as a team. Sophomore Elizabeth Epstein and junior Vicky Brook, at No. 2, won 8-3, taking their second match of the weekend, where they played together for the first time this season. At No. 3, freshmen Blair Seideman and Kim Szokol took an 8-6 victory, improving to 10-0 on the season.
In singles, Brook won in three sets at No. 1. Seideman won in two sets to increase her win streak to nine matches at No. 3. Junior Stephanie Kent won at No. 4 and has won her last four matches and seven of her last eight. At No. 5 Sullivan extended her win streak to four and improved her record to 19-4 in 2011.
Captain Stevi Petrelli, Clark and Silia DeFilippis, the team's three seniors, were honored before the match for their contributions to the team. They have amassed a 30-5 record against Ivy League opponents, won three ECAC Championships and the 2008 Ivy League title, and helped Yale to its first NCAA Tournament appearance. Yale achieved an all-time high rank of No. 23 during their tenure.
Next Saturday the team will travel to Brown for the regular season finale, needing a win to guarantee a berth in the NCAA tournament but with a chance at advancing nonetheless should Dartmouth drop its match.
"Brown has a great team," said Sullivan, "and I for one won't be able to stop thinking about the match this week. I can't wait."
Report by Calvin Bohn '14, Yale Sports Publicity
|Position||Yale University||Dartmouth College||Winner||Score|
|#1 Singles||Victoria Brook||Molly Scott||Yale University||3-6,6-1,7-6(4)|
|#2 Singles||Elizabeth Epstein||Sarah Leonard||Dartmouth College||6-4,2-6,1-0(9)|
|#3 Singles||Blair Seideman||Melissa Matusuoka||Yale University||6-4,6-0|
|#4 Singles||Stephanie Kent||Ryan Reichel||Yale University||6-4,6-0|
|#5 Singles||Annie Sullivan||Georgiana Smyser||Yale University||7-5,6-4|
|#6 Singles||Stevi Petrelli||Sabrina Stewart||Dartmouth College||6-2,6-4|
|#1 Doubles|| Annie Sullivan
| Christina Danosi
|#2 Doubles|| Elizabeth Epstein
| Georgiana Smyser
|#3 Doubles|| Blair Seideman
| Jeri Reichel