Bulldogs No. 31 in Final National Rankings

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The Yale women's tennis huddle. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Team Ranked No. 1 in Northeast Region; Three Singles Players in Regional Top 20

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale women's tennis team was ranked No. 31 in the country in the final Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings, which were released Wednesday. The Bulldogs, who were Ivy League co-champions and won an NCAA tournament match for the first time in school history, were the highest-ranked Ivy League team. They were also ranked No. 1 in the Northeast region, and had three singles players -- rising senior Vicky Brook (London, England), rising junior Elizabeth Epstein (Chicago, Ill.) and rising sophomore Blair Seideman (Glen Head, N.Y.) -- ranked in the regional top 16. The doubles team of Brook and Lindsay Clark '11 (Bernardsville, N.J.) was ranked No. 5 regionally.

The No. 31 ranking is Yale's highest final ITA ranking in the 27 seasons of final rankings available on the ITA website. The ITA has ranked the top 75 teams since 1997, and Yale's previous high final ITA ranking was No. 46, last season. The ITA rankings date back to 1982. The 1978 Yale team was No. 18 in the Women's Large-College Tennis Coaches' Poll.

Brook was Yale's top-ranked singles player, finishing with a No. 10 regional ranking. A second team All-Ivy League singles selection, she had 11 wins at the No. 1 position in the spring for the Bulldogs. She also won her match at No. 2 in Yale's 4-2 win over William & Mary in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Epstein finished No. 15 in the regional rankings. A second team All-Ivy League singles selection, she went 18-6 in the spring playing primarily at No. 2. She moved up to No. 1 for the NCAA Tournament and was ahead in her first-round match when the Bulldogs clinched the win over William & Mary. She also won the first set and was up in the second set on Duke's Nadine Fahoum, ranked No. 39 in the country at the time, when the Blue Devils clinched the win that ended Yale's season in the second round of the NCAAs.

Epstein and Seideman shared the Lisa Rosenblum Award as the team's most valuable player. Seideman finished No. 16 in the regional rankings, giving Yale a tie for the most players in the regional top 16 (Boston College also had three). Seideman, a second team All-Ivy League selection, went 19-5 overall in singles in the spring and put together a 10-match winning streak at the end of the regular season -- all in straight sets. That included wins in two matches that helped Yale clinch the sixth Ivy League title in school history. Seideman beat Dartmouth's Melissa Matusuoka 6-4, 6-0 to help the Bulldogs hand the Big Green its first league loss of the season Apr. 17. Less than a week later in the regular season finale, Seideman beat Brown's Bianca Aboubakare 6-1, 6-2 to help Yale to a 4-3 win. With Dartmouth's win over Harvard that day, the Bulldogs and Big Green finished in a tie for first in the league with 6-1 records. Yale earned the Ivy League's automatic berth in the tournament by virtue of the tiebreaker, the Bulldogs' head-to-head win over the Big Green.

Brook and Clark had 12 wins as a doubles team in the spring and also enjoyed a historic fall season. They advanced to the quarterfinals of the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, becoming the first Yale team in history to accomplish that feat. They also made it to the main draw of the ITA Women's All-American Championships before falling to a team from Notre Dame in the Round of 32.

Yale returns five of six singles players and five of six doubles players from the NCAA Tournament line-up next season. In addition to sharing the Ivy League championship, the Bulldogs also won their third straight ITA Indoor Championship. Danielle McNamara was honored as the ITA's Northeast Region Head Coach of the Year, and Christian Thompson was honored as the ITA's Northeast Region Assistant Coach of the Year.

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (sam.rubin@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity