PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Saturday, the Yale women's tennis team rose to the occasion and won the biggest match of its season, defeating Brown to win a share of the Ivy League title and, by virtue of its tiebreak advantage, the league's automatic NCAA Tournament berth.
The match was tied at 3-3 with only senior captain Stevi Petrelli left playing, in the No. 6 spot against Brown's Julie Flanzer. Petrelli dropped the first set in a tiebreak, and then won the second one 6-4 to tie the match. In an electric atmosphere, Petrelli and Flanzer both battled muscle cramps in the final set. Flanzer eventually went up 40-0 with the set score at 5-4 in her favor, leaving Petrelli with three match points to defend. Petrelli won them all to save Yale's chances, and went on to win the game. She also took the two games after it to win the match, the Ivy League title, and a guaranteed NCAA Tournament appearance for the Bulldogs.
"This feeling is absolutely indescribable," said Petrelli. "I am so happy that I could clinch the match for the rest of my team and bring the Ivy trophy back to New Haven. My coach just kept telling me to stay aggressive and play on my terms even when I was down three match points."
Said head coach Danielle McNamara, "This was by far one of the most exciting college tennis matches that I've ever been a part of -- player or coach. There were so many ups and downs and the end result really came down to mental, physical and emotional toughness. To be down three match points in the third set and come back to win with the entire match on the line, while battling pretty serious cramps, was simply awesome."
Petrelli, though, didn't win the match on her own. Yale took the first point in doubles, with a close 9-7 win at No. 1 with freshman Annie Sullivan and senior Lindsay Clark and also getting an 8-2 win at No. 2 with sophomore Elizabeth Epstein and junior Vicky Brook.
In singles, Seideman won in straight sets at No. 3 to extend her win streak to 10 matches, and junior Stephanie Kent won in three sets to extend her win streak to five matches -- all against Ivy opponents.
Dartmouth also pulled off a 4-3 victory in its match Saturday (against Harvard), which put the Big Green at 6-1 and in a tie for first place in the Ivy League with Yale. The two teams will share the league title, but Yale's tiebreak advantage from defeating the Big Green in Ivy League play gives the Bulldogs the Ivy League's automatic NCAA Tournament berth.
|Position||Yale University||Brown University||Winner||Score|
|#1 Singles||Victoria Brook||Misia Krasowski||Brown University||6-4,6-0|
|#2 Singles||Elizabeth Epstein||Casey Herzberg||Brown University||7-5,6-4|
|#3 Singles||Blair Seideman||Bianca Aboubakare||Yale University||6-1,6-2|
|#4 Singles||Stephanie Kent||Jessica Harrow||Yale University||7-5,1-6,6-2|
|#5 Singles||Annie Sullivan||Ariel Caldwell||Brown University||7-5,6-4|
|#6 Singles||Stevi Petrelli||Julie Flanzer||Yale University||6-7(4),6-4,7-5|
|#1 Doubles|| Annie Sullivan
| Bianca Aboubakare
|#2 Doubles|| Elizabeth Epstein
| Ariel Caldwell
|#3 Doubles|| Blair Seideman
| Julie Flanzer
Report by Calvin Bohn '14, Yale Sports Publicity