No. 31 Yale to Host Western Michigan

Jessica Rhee. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Jessica Rhee. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – No. 31 Yale (9-2) will look to bounce back from just its secod loss of the season and reassert its home court advantage when it hosts Western Michigan Sunday at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center. 

Just two weekends ago, the Bulldogs defeated No. 32 William & Mary to extend its home winning streak to 23 matches before having the streak snapped the next day by No. 20 Vanderbilt.

Already on spring break, the Bulldogs will play this match before heading down to Florida to take on No. 20 South Florida and No. 49 Florida International. 

The Season to Date
Yale is currently 9-2 this season with wins over ranked opponents William & Mary, Wake Forrest, Harvard, Dartmouth, and Boston University.  Yale’s lone two losses came against defending national champion No. 1 Duke and No. 2 Vanderbilt.

Yale’s impressive resume this season includes a national ranking as high as No. 28 and an ECAC Championship. 

2010 Schedule
Eight of Yale’s eleven opponents thus far this season have been ranked at some point this season.  Yale won matches over Wake Forrest, William & Mary, Harvard, Dartmouth, and Boston University twice. 

The Bulldogs have also faced No. 1 Duke and No. 20 Vanderbilt. 

Yale’s remaining schedule includes matches against No. 20 South Florida and No. 49 Florida International.  The Bulldogs will face No. 37 Dartmouth, No. 45 Princeton, No. 56 Brown, and No. 60 Harvard during the Ivy League season. 

Six Returning Players
The Bulldogs return six players from last season’s squad, including five starters.  Senior captain Sarah Lederhandler and senior Jessica Rhee have both started all four of their years at Yale.  Juniors Lindsay Clark and Stevi Petrelli have also been contributors as starters every season they have been at Yale.  Sophomore Vicky Brook posted an undefeated 7-0 record in the Ivy League at the No. 3 singles slot as a freshman.  Brook begins the spring season with sophomore newcomer Stephanie Kent ranked No. 41 in the ITA doubles rankings. 

Three New Additions
Yale adds three players to its squad this season.  Sophomore Stephanie Kent, a transfer from Cornell, had a successful fall season for the Bulldogs and begins the season ranked No. 87 in the ITA individual rankings.  Her successful fall season included impressive performances in both the ITA National Indoor Championships and ITA Northeast Regional Championships.  Kent also starts the season ranked No. 41 in the nation in doubles with partner Vicky Brook. 

Freshman Elizabeth Epstein, Yale’s blue chip recruit from Chicago, Ill., will start the season ranked No. 122 in the nation.  Yale also adds freshman Jenna Ritz to its roster. 

2009 ITA National Indoor Championships
Yale played host to the 2009 ITA National Indoor Championships from Nov. 5 to Nov. 8 at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center.  The 2009 ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, the nation’s premier collegiate indoor tennis tournament, is the second of three national championship events for college tennis this season.  The ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships featured a 32-player singles field and 16-team doubles field. 

The draws were made up of qualifiers from Wilson / ITA Regional Championships held across the country, the ITA National Small College Championships, top performers from the ITA All-American Championships, and at-large wild card selections made by the ITA National Tournament Committee. 

As host of the tournament, the Bulldogs received two singles bids and one doubles bid.   In the first round of the tournament, the No. 8 seeded singles player edged sophomore Stephanie Kent in three sets.  Kent then won a consolation singles match over Auburn’s Fan Chichieva, the No. 4 seed in the consolation singles draw. 

Kent and Brook competed in the ITA National doubles draw.  Rhee also competed in the ITA National singles draw. 

There’s No Place Like Home
The Bulldogs have won 23 of their last 24 matches at home dating back to 2007.  Yale has lost only once with Danielle Lund McNamara as its head coach.

The Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center serves as home for the Bulldogs.  The fabulous eight-court facility complete with a spectacular viewing area and lobby has been serving as the home of Yale tennis since 2008. 

The Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center was made possible by the generous leadership gifts from Sam Heyman '60 and the estate of the late Joseph Cullman III. The project includes a new building with four new courts that are attached to the existing four Cullman Courts. Additionally, the renovation includes team locker rooms, a team room and coaches' offices. The new spacious lobby has been named by Larry Leeds `50 in honor of his son Cary '79. The eight courts have been named to recognize great figures in Yale Tennis history.

The Blue Aces Fan Club
The Blue Aces Fan Club is the official fan club for the Yale Bulldogs women's tennis team. It's free to join.

To join Blue Aces, fans can go to http://www.yaleblueaces.com or sign up at home matches.

2008 Ivy League Champions
Yale posted an undefeated 7-0 record in the Ivy League in 2008 to win its first Ivy League Title since 1989 and its first outright Ivy League Title since 1981. In their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance, the Bulldogs fell in the first round against No. 2 seed Georgia.

The Bulldogs finished the year with an Intercollegiate Tennis Association East region ranking of No. 6 and an ITA national ranking of No. 74. The East Regional rank of No. 6 was the highest of an Ivy League team in the end of the year rankings. The Bulldogs trailed only William & Mary, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Virginia, Marshall and Virginia Tech in the end of the year regional rankings.

Report Filed by Steven Horn ’10, Yale Sports Publicity