NEW HAVEN, Conn. – This weekend, the No. 25 Yale women's tennis team will host the ECAC Indoor Championship at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center.
The tournament will feature eight teams, with the Bulldogs coming in as the No. 1 seed and their first round opponent, Fairleigh Dickinson, at No. 8. Last season, the Bulldogs took the title with a victory over Princeton, and this year the team will look to extend its three-year winning streak in the tournament.
The Bulldogs feature a strong team that has been performing at its best of late, with dominant victories last weekend over No. 31 Oklahoma and No. 32 Arkansas, and a victory the week before over No. 21 Notre Dame, not to mention a 4-3 loss against No. 10 Michigan that came down to the wire. The winning formula for the Bulldogs has been to begin the match by winning the doubles point. That early advantage gives the team a 1-0 lead that lowers the threshold of singles success required for a victory, as the team only needs to split the six matches in order to pull out a victory.
The Bulldogs are extremely strong in doubles, starting at No. 1 with the No. 27 ranked pairing of senior Vicky Brook and Hanna Yu, followed by No. 37 junior Elizabeth Epstein and sophomore Annie Sullivan in the second spot, and finally No. 41 ranked sophomore Blair Seideman and senior captain Steph Kent at No. 3. Sullivan began the season playing with freshman Amber Li, and that pairing was ranked No. 59 in the nation, but she is now playing with Epstein instead. In singles, Yale boasts four of the top thirteen best players in the Northeast Region. Epstein leads the way at No. 2, Yu is No. 3, Brook is seventh, and Seideman is No. 13. Since the tournament field includes five of Yale's seven Ivy League opponents (only Harvard and Penn are not participating), it should give the Bulldogs an opportunity to see where they stand compared to the rest of their Ivy League opponents.
Yale's first-round opponent, Fairleigh Dickinson, has the region's No. 8 player in Anna Rapoport, but no other ranked singles players or doubles teams. The Knights currently stand at 4-1 on the season, but are yet to play a team ranked in the top 75. Yale faced FDU last year in an early season match that the Bulldogs ended up winning 5-2, with singles losses at No. 1 and No. 4. FDU's top player, senior Elmine Botes, beat Brook at No. 1, and junior Egzona Morina topped Stevi Petrelli '11 in the fourth spot.
Should Yale win in the first round, the Bulldogs will face the winner of the match between fourth seed Boston College, ranked No. 54, and fifth seed Dartmouth, currently No. 53 in the country. Boston College has the region's No. 4 player in Jessica Wacnik, and the Eagles also boast some strength in doubles. Alex Kelleher and Olga Khmylev are ranked No. 11, and Wacnik and Kikuchi are the nation's No. 40 team. Dartmouth has the No. 20 player in the Northeast in Akiko Okuda.
If Yale makes it to the championship, they would face one of No. 2 seed Brown, No. 3 Princeton, No. 6 Cornell and No. 7 Columbia.
Brown, No. 38 nationally, has the region's No. 14 singles player in Misia Krasowski, and Krasowski and Jessica Harrow team up to be the region's No. 10 double pairing.
Princeton, No. 43 in the nation, has the region's No. 12 singles player in Hilary Bartlett. The Tigers also have the Nos. 35 and 49 doubles teams, with Bartlett and Lindsay Graff leading the way and Katie Goepel and Rachel Saiontz at No. 49.
Cornell is unranked nationally, but does have the No. 9 doubles paring in the Northeast with Christine Ordway and Sarah O'Neil.
Finally, Columbia is unranked but has the nation's No. 28 doubles pairing in Crystal Leung and Nicole Bartnik. Additionally, Bartnik is the No. 1 player in the Northeast region and Bianca Sanon is No. 18.
Fans can attend all matches for free, and information about the tournament is available here.
Friday Schedule of Play
8:00am: #3 Princeton vs. #6 Cornell
11:30am:#2 Brown vs. #7 Columbia
3:00pm: #4 Boston College vs. #5 Dartmouth
6:00pm: #1 Yale vs. #8 Fairleigh Dickinson
4. Boston College
8. Fairleigh Dickinson
Report by Calvin Bohn '14, Yale Sports Publicity