NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Thursday, the No. 21 ranked Yale women's tennis team will travel to Miami for a stretch of three matches in three days that will paint a revealing picture of where the team stands in relation to some of the nation's elite.
First up will be No. 20 ranked Mississippi, on Thursday, which boasts a 10-6 record on the season, including victories over No. 11 Tennessee and No. 16 Texas A&M. The team also features the nation's No. 12 player in Kristi Boxx, and No. 72 Caroline Rohde-Moe. Boxx and Abby Guthrie play together as college's sixth best doubles pairing. Outside of Boxx and Rohde-Moe, Erin Stephens is No. 10 in the Southern regional rankings, Julia Jones is No. 14, and No. 20 Guthrie is the final ranked Rebel. Stephens and Gabby Rangel are also the region's No. 7 doubles pairing.
Yale, which dropped from No. 18 to No. 21 in the latest ITA rankings to reflect the team's loss to Syracuse, nevertheless enters the week's matches with a 9-2 record including winning every single doubles point in the current season. Reflecting that impressive doubles record are the team's four ranked doubles pairs, tied with Alabama for the most in the nation. At No. 25, senior Vicky Brook and freshman Hanna Yu lead the way for the Bulldogs. Junior Elizabeth Epstein and sophomore Annie Sullivan are next up at No. 37, and sophomore Blair Seideman and senior captain Steph Kent are No. 58. Finally, although they are no longer playing together, freshman Amber Li and Sullivan are No. 76 nationally. Although there are no Bulldogs in the national rankings, Epstein is No. 2 in the Northeast region, Yu is No. 3, Brook is No. 7, and Seideman is No. 13. In addition, although the regional rankings have not been updated since the beginning of the season, if they had been they would surely reflect the 10-1 record of Kent, doing the majority of her work in the No. 4 position.
Friday's matchup will come against unranked Florida International. FIU is only 3-10 on the season, but the Golden Panthers have put up solid competition against teams like No. 51 North Texas, who they played to a 4-3 finish.
Finally, on Saturday, Yale will face the toughest test of the week in No. 12 Miami. The Hurricanes boast a bevy of highly ranked players, including the nation's No. 20 player in Anna Bartenstein, No. 32 Gabriela Mejia, and Lina Lileikite at No. 99. As a team, Miami is 9-1, with the team's only loss coming to No. 9 California. The Hurricanes are fresh off of a 6-1 victory over No. 10 Baylor, and have won their last seven matches without allowing any opponent to pick up even three points. Although Miami has an advantage in credentialed singles players, Yale's common area of strength, doubles, is not an advantage for the Hurricanes. Miami's best pairing is No. 28 Liat Zimmerman and Melissa Bolivar, and from there Mejia and Lileikite are next up, at No. 74. Should Yale prove able to extend its win streak in doubles, that first point would put the Bulldogs in great position to upset their higher-ranked opponent.
Report by Calvin Bohn '14, Yale Sports Publicity