NEW HAVEN, Conn. – This Friday, the No. 27 Yale women's tennis team will open up its Ivy League season against unranked Penn before playing No. 69 Princeton on Saturday, both at the Yale Tennis Center.
Last year, the Bulldogs were the Ivy League champions and earned the league's automatic berth in the NCAA tournament. This year, Yale comes into the Ivy League season as the league's highest ranked team by a large margin. Standing at No. 27, the Bulldogs' closest rival is No. 53 Brown, followed by Princeton at No. 69. This weekend, Yale will have its first test against Ivy League competition as the team tries to validate its superior ranking.
First on the docket will be Penn. The Quakers come into the matchup with a 5-7 record, including three losses by large margins to ranked opponents. In its most recent match, Penn fell 6-1 at the hands of Princeton, ranked No. 70 at the time. The only opponent that has faced both Penn and Yale is Florida International. The Golden Panthers topped Penn 4-3, but fell to Yale 4-2. In terms of players, Penn has the Northeast region's No. 17 ranked player in Sol Eskenazi. Eskenazi also partners up with Jules Rodin to be the No. 49 ranked doubles pair in the country.
In contrast, Yale dominates the Northeast regional singles rankings. Junior Elizabeth Epstein is No. 2, freshman Hanna Yu is No. 3, senior Vicky Brook is No. 7, and sophomore Blair Seideman comes in at No. 13. Yale's real strength, though, has been in doubles play. The Bulldogs have won 14 of 15 doubles points on the season en route to a 12-3 record and the excellent No. 27 ranking. Brook and Yu team up to be the No. 30 doubles team nationally. Epstein and sophomore Annie Sullivan are ranked No. 61, and the pairing of Sullivan and freshman Amber Li is ranked No. 74.
Princeton should prove to be a tougher matchup than the Quakers. In terms of players, Princeton has the nation's No. 96 singles player in Hilary Bartlett. In doubles, Bartlett and Lindsay Graff are ranked No. 29 in doubles. Graff is also ranked No. 19 in the Northeast, and Rachel Saiontz and Katie Goepel make up the region's No. 7 doubles pairing. Princeton is 8-8 on the season, and has been ranked as high as No. 40. Princeton and Yale played in the ECAC Championship game in February, with the Bulldogs coming out on top 4-2. In that match, Yale swept the three doubles matches to jump out to an early lead. Yale got victories from Epstein, in an upset over Bartlett, Yu, and senior captain Steph Kent, with Seideman and Sullivan sustaining close losses and Li not finishing her match.
Fans can come watch the match at 2 p.m.
Report by Calvin Bohn '14, Yale Sports Publicity