At All-Time High in ITA Rankings, No. 18 Bulldogs Head to BU

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Vicky Brook. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Beat Terriers 7-0 Last Season

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale women's tennis team reached a new high in the ITA rankings on Tuesday, but the Bulldogs will have little time to celebrate. Now ranked No. 18 in the country, they head to Boston Thursday afternoon for a match at BU.

Yale (8-2, 0-0 Ivy League) has been climbing the charts since Jan. 24, when the Bulldogs were ranked No. 35. They were temporarily No. 18 last week before a technical error in the rankings was discovered and they were moved down to No. 19. After a 7-0 win over Stony Brook at Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center this past Sunday, they moved up to No. 18 in this week's rankings. Yale is the highest-ranked Ivy League team, 11 spots ahead of No. 29 Brown. No. 49 Princeton is the only other Ivy in the top 75.

Prior to this season, Yale's highest ranking in the ITA poll had been No. 23. The 1978 Yale team was No. 18 in the Women's Large-College Tennis Coaches' Poll.

The Bulldogs have been rolling in doubles, with 10 straight doubles point wins to start the season. That includes 3-0 sweeps of six teams, including two teams currently ranked in the top 40 (No. 34 Arkansas and No. 40 Oklahoma). Four Yale doubles teams were in the most recent ITA rankings, led by the team of senior Vicky Brook and freshman Hanna Yu at No. 22. They have won six of their last eight matches. The team of junior Elizabeth Epstein and sophomore Annie Sullivan is right behind Brook and Yu, checking in at No. 24. Epstein and Sullivan are a perfect 10-0 this year. So are senior captain Steph Kent and sophomore Blair Seideman, who are ranked No. 38.

Epstein leads the way for Yale in singles with an 8-2 mark at the No. 1 spot. Yu has moved up to No. 2 for the last two matches and gone 2-0, following a 5-1 run at No. 3. Seideman has produced a pair of straight-set wins at No. 3 in the last two matches.

Kent got a comeback win at No. 4 against Stony Brook to improve to 9-1. Brook made her first singles appearance since Jan. 29 in that same match, and she delivered a 6-0, 6-4 win at No. 5. Sullivan added a win at No. 6, her sixth win in her last eight matches.

Yale beat BU 7-0 last season, taking the doubles point 2-1 and winning all but one singles match in straight sets. The Terriers started this season 4-0, but have since dropped three straight matches -- including losses to two of Yale's Ivy League rivals, Brown and Harvard. The Terriers lost the doubles point in all three matches, including a 3-0 doubles sweep at the hands of Harvard. Leonie-Charlotte Athanasiadis led the team up with a pair of wins in singles (at No. 3 against Harvard and No. 2 against Brown) during that stretch. She last played a Bulldog in the Big Green Invite this past November, when she fell to Kent 6-1, 6-3 in the final. Kent also beat her in straight sets in last season's matchup between Yale and BU.  

After the BU match Yale heads to Florida, where the Bulldogs have three matches -- including two against ranked opponents, at No. 12 Miami and vs. No. 25 Mississippi.

Yale in the 2012 ITA Rankings
(2010-11 final rank: 31)
Jan. 3: 30
Jan. 24: 35
Feb. 2: 25
Feb. 16: 25
Feb. 22: 25
Feb. 28: 19
Mar. 6:  18

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