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No. 34 Yale Tops No. 50 Brown 4-3 To Win Ivy Title, NCAA Tournament Berth

Yale Women's Tennis, 2011 Ivy League Champions.
Yale Women's Tennis, 2011 Ivy League Champions.

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 
 Lindsay Clark
 Bianca Aboubakare 
 Jessica Harrow
 Yale University  9-7
 #2 Doubles  Elizabeth Epstein 
 Victoria Brook
 Ariel Caldwell 
 Casey Herzberg
 Yale University  8-2
 #3 Doubles  Blair Seideman 
 Kim Szokol
 Julie Flanzer 
 Misia Krasowski
 Brown University  8-6


Report by Calvin Bohn '14, Yale Sports Publicity