NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Saturday, the No. 27 Yale women's tennis team improved to 2-0 in the Ivy League with a 4-3 win over No. 69 Princeton that went down to the wire.
Yale started off with a sweep in doubles, the 16th time in 17 matches that the team has won the doubles point. At No. 1, freshman Amber Li and senior Vicky Brook, playing together for the first time against a ranked opponent, downed the No. 29 ranked pairing of Hilary Bartlett and Lindsay Graff 8-6. Next up, at No. 2, junior Elizabeth Epstein and sophomore Annie Sullivan, ranked No. 61, downed Katie Goepel and Rachel Saiontz 8-2. Since the two have started playing together, Epstein and Sullivan have been the barometer of success for the Bulldogs, with the team winning the doubles point when Epstein and Sullivan are successful, and the team losing when the duo come out on bottom. Finally, at No. 3, sophomore Blair Seideman and senior captain Stephanie Kent put together an 8-6 win over Katherine Flanigan and Monica Chow.
With a 1-0 lead, Yale only had to win three of the six singles matches to claim a team victory. That advantage was crucial for Yale, as the Tigers fought back hard to almost win the match. At No. 2, freshman Hanna Yu was the first to fall for Yale, losing 6-0, 6-1 to Lindsay Graff. Fortunately, Seideman was able to grab an easy 6-1, 6-1 win over Saiontz at No. 3 and Brook, playing at No. 5, knocked off Chow by the same score. With the match at 3-1 in favor of the Bulldogs, only one more victory stood in the way of starting off the Ivy League season 2-0. However, Princeton had something to say. First, at No. 4, Kent went down 6-3, 6-3 to Flanigan. Next, Sullivan lost a close-fought battle in the sixth spot to Goepel 7-6 (5), 7-5, tying the match at 3-3.
The last match in progress was between Epstein and Bartlett, playing at No. 1 for all the marbles. Bartlett went ahead early, winning the first set 6-1. However, Epstein fought back in the second, winning 6-3. In an intense final set, Bartlett and Epstein stayed neck-in-neck, with neither player able to grab a significant advantage as the score moved from 2-1 in favor of Bartlett to a 3-3 tie, and then to a 4-4 tie. Epstein finally gained some breathing room as she went up 6-5. Serving for the match, she got off to a 40-0 lead. Bartlett somehow managed to regain control and save three match points, but Epstein came out on top, winning the game, set and match for the Bulldogs.
Report by Calvin Bohn '14, Yale Sports Publicity