No. 47 Virginia Stalls Bulldog Comeback at Blue-Gray National Tennis Classic

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

No. 34 Yale to Play No. 40 Ohio State for Third Place

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Yale women's tennis team made a valiant effort to mount a second comeback win in as many days on Saturday at the Blue-Gray National Tennis Classic, but ultimately came up short against a resilient Cavalier squad.  Playing at the Lagoon Park Tennis Center, No. 47 Virginia (5-6, 1-0 ACC) narrowly edged out No. 34 Yale (9-2, 0-0 Ivy) in the battle for the doubles point before fending off a strong effort by the No. 1 seeded Bulldogs in singles play.

Just as in Yale's first-round match against Pepperdine, the doubles point came down to a tense tiebreaker.  This time, however, the deciding match was at No. 3 doubles, after Yale's No. 2 duo of freshman Madeleine Hamilton and sophomore Amber Li evened the score by defeating Virginia's No. 2 tandem of Maria Fuccillo and Hana Tomljanovic 8-6.  At No. 3 doubles, the Bulldog pairing of freshman Courtney Amos and sophomore Hanna Yu took part in a high-quality clash, but fell short in the tiebreaker against the Cavalier team of Julia Elbaba and Li Xi. 

The Bulldogs did not let their disadvantage going into singles deter their resolve, as they nearly made a heroic fight-back to complement the one they made a day ago against Pepperdine.  It was not to be, however, as Virginia picked up the requisite trio of wins in singles.  In upsetting Yale, Virginia's Erin Vierra had to do what no other player had been able to do all season: defeat Li.  Vierra did so, at No. 5 singles, to seal the Cavaliers' win and secure their advancement to the final round of the tournament, where they will take on No. 50 Tulane.  At No. 3 singles, junior Annie Sullivan, whose heroics against Pepperdine put Yale in the semifinals, remained undefeated with a straightforward 6-2, 6-3 victory over Tomljanovic.  In what was perhaps Yale's biggest success of the day, senior captain Elizabeth Epstein, ranked No. 99 in the nation, upset No. 13 Elbaba 7-5, 6-3 at No. 2 singles.

Despite the defeat, Yale will still have a chance to bring a winning record out of this event, as the squad will challenge No. 40 Ohio State (8-5, 1-1 Big Ten) for a third place finish at the Blue-Gray National Tennis Classic.  The match is set to take place at 11:30 a.m. CDT (12:30 p.m. EDT) on Sunday at the O'Connor Tennis Center.

The website for the 2013 Blue-Gray National Tennis Classic can be found here.  Live scoring will be available throughout the tournament here.

Report by Robert Batista '15, Yale Sports Publicity

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 Position  University of Virginia  Yale University  Winner  Score
 #1 Singles  #71 Stephanie Nauta  Madeleine Hamilton  University of Virginia  6-1, 6-1
 #2 Singles  #13 Julia Elbaba  #99 Elizabeth Epstein  Yale University  7-5, 6-3
 #3 Singles  Hana Tomljanovic  Annie Sullivan  Yale University  6-2, 6-2
 #4 Singles  Li Xi  Hanna Yu  Yale University  6-3, 1-6, 6-4
 #5 Singles  Erin Vierra  Amber Li  University of Virginia  7-6, 6-4
 #6 Singles  Caryssa Peretz  Courtney Amos  University of Virginia  6-4, 6-2
 #1 Doubles  Stephanie Nauta
 Erin Vierra
 Elizabeth Epstein
 Annie Sullivan
 University of Virginia  8-3
 #2 Doubles  Hana Tomljanovic
 Maria Fuccillo
 Amber Li
 Madeleine Hamilton
 Yale University  8-6
 #3 Doubles  Julia Elbaba
 Li Xi
 Courtney Amos
 Hanna Yu
 University of Virginia  9-8