Rising Senior Clinched First NCAA Tournament Win for Bulldogs
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Rising senior Steph Kent (Washington Depot, Conn.), who helped the Yale women's tennis team to the 2011 Ivy League championship and the program's first NCAA Tournament match win, has been elected team captain for 2011-12. Kent was selected by a team vote Wednesday night.
"I'm truly honored to have been elected captain by my teammates," said Kent. "This title comes with many responsibilities, and I will strive to match the high standards set by my previous captains, Sarah Lederhandler and Stevi Petrelli. I certainly have big shoes to fill next year, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to rise to the challenge."
Playing primarily No. 4 singles for the Bulldogs this past season, Kent went 18-8 overall (17-5 in dual matches) and helped the team to a 22-5 dual match record. Her biggest win came this past Saturday, when she beat William & Mary's Anik Cepeda 6-4, 6-4 in Yale's match vs. the Tribe in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Duke's Ambler Tennis Stadium. That gave the Bulldogs their fourth point of the match, clinching the victory. The Bulldogs fell to No. 3 Duke the following day.
Kent won six of her final seven singles matches of the 2011 season, including a pair of big wins vs. Ivy League opponents. Her 6-4, 6-0 win over Dartmouth's Ryan Reichel on Apr. 17 helped the Bulldogs hand the Big Green its first league loss of the season, 5-2. That wound up being crucial less than a week later, when Yale edged Brown 4-3 in the regular season finale and Dartmouth won its match vs. Harvard. Kent had a 7-5, 1-6, 6-2 win over the Bears' Jessica Harrow to help earn that victory, which gave Yale a share of the Ivy League title. The Bulldogs and Dartmouth both finished with 6-1 league records.
In addition to the Ivy League championship (the sixth in school history) and NCAA Tournament win, Kent also helped the Bulldogs win their third straight ITA Indoor Team Championship this past February. She won a pair of singles matches as the Bulldogs beat three Ivy opponents -- Columbia, Harvard and Princeton -- en route to that title. Yale rose as high as No. 23 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings earlier this season.
Kent's fall season included advancing to the Round of 64 at the USTA/ITA Division I Northeast Regional Championships.
Yale is 38-11 overall during Kent's time here. A graduate of Shepaug Valley, she began her collegiate career at Cornell but transferred to Yale for her sophomore year in 2009. She won the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center Women's College Invitational in the fall of 2009. Her fall 2009 doubles season was highlighted by reaching the finals of the 2009 Wilson/ITA DI Northeast Regional Championships with her doubles partner and classmate Vicky Brook (London, England) at Yale's Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center. Overall she went 22-9 in doubles and 20-19 in singles.
Kent is in Silliman College at Yale. She leads the Bulldogs into a 2011-12 season where they return five of the six singles players, and five of the six doubles players, from the lineup in the NCAA Tournament.
"No words can fully express my appreciation for the chance to lead such a hard-working and talented team through another promising season," Kent said. "Not only are my teammates exceptional athletes, but they are tremendous people with so much heart and character. They have become my closest friends, and I aspire to be the strong and loyal leader they each deserve. I especially look forward to working with my fellow senior teammate and dear friend Vicky Brook to guide YWT through another historic season. Last year we had tremendous success, and I have no doubt that we can accomplish even greater things in the 2011-2012 season."
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity