NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Saturday, the Yale women's tennis team will take on Brown in the team's most important match of the season. Should the Bulldogs emerge victorious, they would win at least a share of the Ivy League championship, and based on their tiebreaker advantage over Dartmouth, the team would also earn the league's automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.
The last two weekends have highlighted the depth and talent of the Yale squad. The team rebounded from a very tough loss against Princeton to reel off four straight Ivy League victories, first over Columbia and Cornell, and then last weekend against nemesis Harvard and previously unbeaten Dartmouth.
"The team has worked very hard," said senior captain Stevi Petrelli, "to put ourselves in a position to win an Ivy championship. And we know if we focus and execute the fundamentals, then we'll be successful come Saturday. It would be a great way to end the regular season, especially as a senior."
Yale matches up well with the Bears. Brown lost consecutive 4-3 matches over the weekend to Dartmouth and Harvard, which bodes well considering that Yale beat both teams in the same time frame, 5-2 over Dartmouth and 6-1 against Harvard. In addition, Brown got wins in both those matches at the Nos. 3 and 5 spots, which are areas of particular strength for the Bulldogs. At No. 3, freshman Blair Seideman has won nine consecutive matches, and at No. 5 freshman Annie Sullivan has won four matches in a row and eight of nine.
Should Yale and Dartmouth (playing on the road Saturday at Harvard) both win their matches, the two teams would share the Ivy League title. However, since the Bulldogs defeated the Big Green in their Ivy League matchup, Yale would take the automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament based on their tiebreak advantage.
However, should Yale lose and Dartmouth win, Dartmouth would stand alone at the top of the Ivy League. The most interesting scenario comes if both Yale and Dartmouth lose. This would create a five-way tie in first place with Yale, Dartmouth, Harvard, Brown, and Princeton all finishing the season at 5-2, with a share of the Ivy League title. The first tiebreaker in this situation (to determine which team would take the automatic NCAA Tournament berth) would be Ivy League records against the other tied teams, but each team would be 2-2 against the rest of the group so that would resolve nothing. The second tiebreak is records against the teams over the course of the entire spring season. In this situation, Yale would rise to the top based on their victory in the ECAC Indoor Team Championship, in which the team had a 2-0 record against the other teams in the logjam. Each other team lost at least one match, so the Bulldogs would share the Ivy League title and automatically qualify for the NCAA Tournament if both they and Dartmouth lost.
A win, however, would guarantee the title and automatic berth outright, a situation far desirable to counting on a Dartmouth loss against Harvard.
Report by Calvin Bohn '14, Yale Sports Publicity