January 8, 2010

Bulldogs Begin Season Ranked No. 48 in Nation

Yale will begin the season and the New Year ranked No. 48 in the ITA Division I Women’s National Team Rankings. 

The Bulldogs return six players from a team that posted a 14-6 overall record last season and finished the year ranked No. 50.  Yale adds three players to a squad that will try to recapture the Ivy League Title.   

Two of those newcomers open the season ranked in the ITA Division I Women’s National Singles Rankings.  Sophomore Stephanie Kent, a transfer from Cornell University, begins the season ranked No. 87 in the singles rankings after a successful fall season that included an impressive performance in the ITA National Indoor Championships hosted by Yale University.   Freshman Elizabeth Epstein, Yale’s blue chip recruit, will start ranked No. 122 in the nation. 

The doubles team of Kent and sophomore Vicky Brook starts the season ranked No. 41 in the nation.  Their fall season included a finals appearance in the ITA Northeast Regional Championships and an appearance in the ITA National Indoor Championships. 

“Starting out ranked in the top 50 is a solid place to begin our season and I’m really looking forward to the great competition we have on our schedule,” head coach Danielle Lund McNamara said.  “We will have plenty of opportunity to work our way up in the rankings and to see how good our team can really be.  More than anything though, I want our team to focus on improving a little bit each and every day and if that happens the results should take care of themselves.”

Five members of Yale’s team were part of the Ivy League Championship team of two years ago.  After recording a 5-2 Ivy record and finishing tied for third place in the Ivy League last season, Yale’s road to an Ivy League Championship will not be easy this season.  Defending Ivy League co-champions Princeton and Harvard begin the season ranked No. 44 and No. 65, respectively.  Ivy League rival Brown begins the season ranked No. 63. 

Yale’s non-Ivy schedule includes matches against seven ranked opponents including No. 1 Duke, the 2009 NCAA Champions.  The Bulldogs will also face either No. 39 Wake Forest or No. 43 VCU, No. 22 Vanderbilt, No. 32 Florida International, No. 47 William & Mary, No. 61 Boston University, and No. 75 South Florida. 

The two singles players and one doubles team in the ITA individual national rankings to start the season is the most ever for the Bulldogs. 

“It’s exciting to have the most number of players ever in the individual national rankings for Yale,” McNamara said.  “It’s important however to not get caught up in the rankings and records.  If everyone on our team keeps working hard and focuses on the things that they can control, I think individual players and our team as a whole will accomplish what we’ve set out to do this season.”

Report Filed by Steven Horn ’10, Yale Sports Publicity