Bulldogs Clinch Share of Ivy League Title With 7-0 Win Over Harvard

April 18, 2008

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New Haven, Conn. - The Bulldogs (10-8, 6-0 Ivy) clinched a share of their first Ivy League Title since 1989 with a 7-0 victory over Harvard (2-15, 2-3 Ivy) Friday at home. With a win Sunday over Dartmouth, Yale will be headed to its first NCAA Tournament ever. Yale won all six singles matches and the doubles point to earn the 7-0 victory.

Head Coach Danielle Lund McNamara said that the Bulldogs played great tennis in the victory over Harvard.

"The team was ready for today," McNamara said. "Everything could not have come together more perfectly: the way we played, the weather, clinching a share of the title against Harvard, everything."

The way the Bulldogs played was phenomenal as they started off the match by winning No. 1 and No. 2 doubles to earn the doubles point.

After winning the doubles point, Yale jumped off to one set leads at No. 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 singles. Sophomore Jessica Rhee and freshman Lauren Ritz made quick work of their opponents with straight set victories at No. 2 and No. 6 singles, respectively.

With a 3-0 lead in place, the Bulldogs began to struggle though. Freshman Lindsay Clark dropped the second set at No. 3 singles, and freshman Stevi Petrelli looked to be headed to a third set at No. 5 singles. While junior Janet Kim battled back from a first set loss to force a third set at No. 1 singles, Yale was looking for another victory to earn the win.

The Bulldogs found the decisive victory in the form of sophomore Sarah Lederhandler. At No. 4 singles, Lederhandler battled to a straight set victory to clinch to the victory for the Bulldogs.

With the victory in place, Kim, Clark, and Petrelli came up with third set victories at No. 1, 3, and 5 singles, respectively.

While the Bulldogs have clinched a share of the Ivy League Title, McNamara said the team still has more work to do.

"We still have one more match," McNamara said. "We don't want to share anything with Penn. But we've clinched a share and that's a testament to how hard this team has worked."

With a perfect 6-0 Ivy League record to date, Yale holds a one-match advantage in the Ivy League over 5-1 Penn. Although the Bulldogs defeated the Quakers in their head-to-head match up, if the teams were to tie for the Title, Yale would play Penn in a one game playoff at home to determine the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs can avoid this by clinching their first outright Ivy League Title since 1981.

Although Yale has won every Ivy League match to date, McNamara said the team wants to win the final one Sunday against Dartmouth.

"Every match that we are more mentally and physically tough we'll win. And so far, that has been every match this season," McNamara said. "We've talked about wanting to make the NCAA Tournament since the beginning of the season. That is what is at stake for Sunday."

With so much at stake, the Bulldogs will travel to Hanover Sunday to take on Dartmouth in an attempt to finish a perfect 7-0 in the Ivy League, clinch their first outright Ivy League Title since 1981, and earn an NCAA Tournament berth for the first time ever.

Results
Doubles
1. Janet Kim/Jessie Rhee (Y) def. Sam Rosekrans/Beier Ko (H), 8-5
2. Lindsay Clark/Lauren Ritz (Y) def. Agnes Sibilski/Laura Peterzan (H), 8-6
3. Stephanie Schnitter/Cat Stewart (H) def. Lindsey Dashiell/Stevi Petrelli (Y), 8-6
Order of finish: 2,1,3

Singles
1. Janet Kim (Y) def. #77 Beier Ko (H), 3-6,6-3,6-3
2. Jessica Rhee (Y) def. Laura Peterzan (H), 6-4,6-2
3. Lindsay Clark (Y) def. Sam Rosekrans (H), 6-1,4-6,6-3
4. Sarah Lederhandler (Y) def. Stephanie Schnitter (H), 6-2,7-5
5. Stevi Petrelli (Y) def. Cat Stewart (H), 6-1,6-7(3),10-7
6. Lauren Ritz (Y) def. Vilsa Curto (H), 6-2, 6-1
Order of finish: 6,2,4,1,5,3

Report Filed by Steven Horn '10, Yale Sports Publicity