Elizabeth Epstein Elected Captain for 2012-13

Elizabeth Epstein. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Elizabeth Epstein. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Unanimous First Team All-Ivy Pick Played No. 1, Helped Bulldogs to Ivy Title and NCAA Appearance

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Elizabeth Epstein (Chicago, Ill.), a rising senior who has helped the Bulldogs to back-to-back Ivy League championships, has been elected captain of the Yale women's tennis team for 2012-13. Epstein was selected in a team vote Tuesday. She also earned her second straight Lisa Rosenblum Award as most valuable player. Yale (20-4, 7-0 Ivy League) concluded its season this past weekend, falling at No. 5 Stanford in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

"It is such an honor to have been elected captain by my fellow teammates," Epstein said. "Every member of this team has a tremendous work ethic and desire to succeed, and I cannot wait to lead such a talented and hard-working group of individuals."

Playing No. 1 singles all spring, Epstein went 16-7. That included some of the biggest wins of the season for the Bulldogs. On Jan. 28 at then-No. 21 Notre Dame in the first round of the ITA Kickoff Weekend, Epstein registered a straight-set win over All-American Kristy Frilling. That proved to be a critical point as the Bulldogs eventually scored a 4-3 upset win. Epstein delivered the decisive point in Yale's 4-3 win over then-No. 69 Princeton on Apr. 7, a victory that set the tone for the Bulldogs' run to the Ivy League title. In her singles match, against Princeton's Hilary Bartlett, Epstein rallied to win the last two sets after dropping the first set.

Epstein also won the match-clinching point in Yale's 4-0 win over Saint Mary's (Calif.) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament this past Saturday at Stanford's Taube Family Tennis Center, completing the first NCAA shutout win in history for the Bulldogs.

In addition to her stellar singles play at No. 1, Epstein also was part of a dominant doubles team at No. 2 with sophomore Annie Sullivan (Deerfield, Ill.). That duo went 21-1 this spring, including 7-0 in the Ivy League. They won their last 10 matches in a row and held their opponents to two or fewer points six times in that stretch.

Along with the Ivy League championship (the seventh in school history) and NCAA Tournament appearance (the third in school history), Epstein also helped the Bulldogs win their fourth straight ITA Indoor Team Championship this past February. She won all three of her singles matches and all three of her doubles matches in the tournament, including a comeback three-set win vs. Bartlett in the 4-2 win over Princeton for the title. Yale rose as high as No. 18 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings shortly after that victory.

Epstein's fall season included a 5-1 singles mark. She advanced to the finals of the 2011 USTA/ITA Division I Northeast Regional Championships before falling. She was ranked No. 2 in the Northeast Region at the start of the spring season.

Yale is 58-15 overall (18-3 in Ivy League matches) during Epstein's time here. In her sophomore season she was ranked No. 15 in the Northeast Region. In addition to sharing the Rosenblum Award as team MVP, she also won the team's Most Improved Player Award and was named second team All-Ivy League in singles. She had a 19-6 singles record in the spring, playing mostly at No. 2 before finishing the season as Yale's No. 1 in the NCAA Tournament matches.

"I have learned so much playing for Yale over the past three years, especially from my senior leaders Steph Kent (Washington Dept, Conn.) and Vicky Brook (London, England)," said Epstein. "The team reached new heights under their guidance, and it is a privilege to be able to follow in their footsteps. The passion, energy and dedication they have brought to this program has been incredible. Together, fellow senior Sarah Guzick (Greer, S.C.) and I are looking forward to rising to the challenge of the strong precedent they have set."

Epstein is in Pierson College at Yale. Prior to Yale she attended Francis Parker School.

Epstein leads the Bulldogs into a 2012-13 season where they return four of the six singles players, and four of the six doubles players, from the lineup in the NCAA Tournament.

"This year, the Yale women's tennis team had an unbelievable season," Epstein said. "With three strong recruits, I expect the program to continue building. There is really no limit to what we can achieve next year."

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (sam.rubin@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity