April 22, 2007
New Haven, CT - The No. 67 Bulldogs (11-8, 6-1 Ivy) concluded their regular season today with a 4-3 victory over Dartmouth at home on Senior Day to claim second place in the Ivy League. Yale will await the NCAA Tournament Selection Show on May 1 on ESPNews to see if its season will continue with a possible postseason birth into the 64-team NCAA Tournament.
The Bulldogs capped their regular season with victories at No. 1, 2, 3, and 4 singles to earn the victory over Dartmouth. Playing No. 1 singles, sophomore Janet Kim improved to 5-2 in the Ivy League with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Megan Zebroski.
Head Coach Danielle Lund said that Kim has impressively stepped up as a sophomore and filled the role of No. 1 singles.
"I think she did a great job today," Lund said. "The girl she played against, the styles matched up well for Janet. The forehand to forehand was a perfect match up for Janet. When Janet's forehand is on, she's hard to beat. She really did play well today. She was painting the lines. She did a great job this whole season. Stepping up at No. 1 is always difficult. Even though she played No. 2 last year for the most part, moving to No. 1 is a big step. Your teammates look to you as a leader. It's more than just tennis. She did a great job with that considering she's only a sophomore. She knows it's time to step up when it's Ivy season."
Freshman Sarah Lederhandler cruised to a 6-3, 6-1 win over Kerry Snow at No. 2 singles. Playing No. 4 singles, freshman Jessica Rhee won her eleventh straight match and improved to a perfect 7-0 in the Ivy League with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Lindsay Winingham.
Rhee joined Kim last year as the second straight freshman to complete an undefeated Ivy season. Lund said that Rhee has really improved over the course of this year.
"Seems to be a trend for us at Yale women's tennis," Lund said about Rhee going undefeated as a freshman. "She really did a nice job. At the beginning of the year we didn't know where the freshman were going to end up. Jessica started off at No. 2. No. 4 was the perfect spot for her obviously. She put a lot of hard work in this semester. For her, more than her tennis where she has improved is on her mental game. Staying positive and being mentally tough. In a couple of situations in Ivy matches, she was tested, and she was able to turn it around and was able to win some tough matches. She did a great job."
Playing on Senior Day in her last regular season match, senior Christine Alford rolled to a 6-3, 6-1 win over Mary Beth Winingham at No. 3 singles to clinch the victory over Dartmouth for the Bulldogs.
Lund said Alford clinching it was a great ending to her career here at Yale.
"In singles, Christine clinching it for us at No. 3 was great," Lund said. "I was just really happy for her. She played really well."
The senior doubles team of Alford and captain Olivia Nix did go out on top with a 9-7 victory at No. 1 doubles, but Yale could not come up with victories at the other two slots and lost the doubles point.
Lund said the victory by the seniors at No. 1 doubles was an appropriate end to their great careers here at Yale.
"It was awesome," Lund said. "Both Christine and Olivia did a great job in doubles. They were actually down at one point 6-1. And they came back and ended up winning it 9-7. It was a great turn around. I'm really proud of them. They have done a great job this year."
The second place finish is Yale's highest in the Ivy League since the 2004 season when Yale also finished second place with a 6-1 record. Now Yale will wait to see if they can make its first NCAA Tournament ever since the Tournament was reformatted into a 64-team tournament similar to that of basketball's NCAA Tournament.
Lund said the team will eagerly await the NCAA selection show on May 1 to see if Yale can make the tournament.
"It's huge," Lund said. "I really just hope that we do get a bid this year. It would be great. I just want them to get that experience at that post-season play. Unfortunately we don't have a conference tournament. And that's one thing I'm hugely in favor of. Until we get that, the NCAAs is all we have. I'd love for the girls this year after all their hard work to be paid off for them to get an at large bid. If it doesn't happen it doesn't happen and we can use it as motivation for next year."
1. Janet Kim (Y) def. Megan Zebroski (D), 6-2, 6-2
2. Sarah Lederhandler (Y) def. Kerry Snow (D), 6-3, 6-1
3. Christine Alford (Y) def. Mary Beth Winingham (D), 6-3, 6-1
4. Jessica Rhee (Y) def. Lindsay Winingham (D), 6-2, 6-2
5. Jesse Adler (D) def. Olivia Nix (Y), 6-4, 6-4
6. Carley Markovitz (D) def. Lilian Nguyen (Y), 6-3, 6-3
1. Alford / Nix (Y) def. Zebroski / Natalie O'Rourke (D), 9-7
2. L. Winingham / M. Winingham (D) def. Rhee / Lederhandler (Y), 8-6
3. Maggie Suydam / Adler (D) def. Lindsey Dashiell / Kim (Y), 8-6
Report filed by Steven Horn '10, Yale Sports Publicity