California Dreaming: No. 28 Yale Selected to Play No. 41 Saint Mary’s in NCAAs

Elizabeth Epstein. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Elizabeth Epstein. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Match to be Played at Stanford Friday, May 11

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Having earned the Ivy League's automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament as the undefeated league champion, members of the Yale women's tennis team gathered in the third floor classroom of Ray Tompkins House Tuesday evening to learn which team they would face in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs, ranked No. 28 in the latest ITA poll, will play No. 41 Saint Mary's (Calif.) at Stanford's Taube Family Tennis Stadium on Friday, May 11 at 11:00 a.m. Pacific time.

Stanford, ranked No. 5 and seeded No. 4 in the tournament, hosts both the first- and second-round matches in that bracket, which also includes unranked Stony Brook. The second-round match takes place Saturday, May 12 at 3:00 p.m. Pacific time.

Yale (19-3, 7-0 Ivy League) earned its seventh Ivy League title (and second in a row) this season, completing a perfect season in league play for the first time since 2008. The Bulldogs also won their fourth straight ECAC Indoor Team Championship this year.

This is Yale's third appearance as a team in the NCAA Tournament. In 2008, the Bulldogs lost in the first round at Georgia. Last year the Bulldogs beat William & Mary 4-2 in the first round, then lost to Duke in the second round. Yale also had singles players in the tournament three times (1983, 1989 and 1991) and a doubles team in the tournament in 1983.

With a nine-match winning streak, the Bulldogs enter the NCAA Tournament on quite a roll. They outscored their opponents 42-7 in league play, winning all but one match by at least three points. The Bulldogs have won 21 of 22 doubles points, and feature three nationally ranked doubles teams. Senior Vicky Brook (London, England) and freshman Hanna Yu (Northbrook, Ill.) are ranked No. 61; Brook and freshman Amber Li (Tampa, Fla.) (who have played six straight matches together at No. 1, going 4-2) are ranked No. 84; and Li and sophomore Annie Sullivan (Deerfield, Ill.) are ranked No. 88.

Those national rankings do not reflect the dominance of the Bulldogs' current No. 2 and No. 3 doubles teams. The No. 2 team of Sullivan and junior Elizabeth Epstein (Chicago, Ill.) has gone 20-1, and the No. 3 doubles team of senior Steph Kent (Washington Depot, Conn.) and sophomore Blair Seideman (Brookville, N.Y.) has gone 19-1.

Epstein has played No. 1 singles all season, posting a 16-6 mark that includes a win over Notre Dame All-American Kristy Frilling. Seideman has played the majority of her matches at No. 2 and also has a 16-6 mark. She has won nine in a row, including all seven of her Ivy matches in straight sets. Yu has played the majority of her matches at No. 3, posting a 15-5 record that includes four straight wins.

Brook is 12-3 in singles this season and has won nine in a row, including every Ivy League match and six straight at the No. 4 spot. Kent has played the last five matches at No. 5 and won four of them; she is 15-5 overall. Sullivan has won five in a row at No. 6 and is 17-5 overall. Li has played all of her matches at No. 6 and gone 6-2. Junior Sarah Guzick (Greer, S.C.) has a 1-1 mark in her two matches.

Saint Mary's (14-7, 7-1 West Coast Conference) received an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament after falling to eventual WCC champion San Diego in the semifinals of the conference tournament this past weekend. The Gaels are making their third straight NCAA appearance. They have won nine of their last 11 matches and have upset two top 30 teams (No. 25 Oklahoma and No. 29 Washington) so far this season. They have been ranked as high as No. 20 in the country.

Oklahoma is the only common opponent for Yale and Saint Mary's. The Bulldogs beat the Sooners 6-1 and the Gaels beat them 4-3.

The 64-team single-elimination NCAA Tournament field starts with the first and second rounds May 11-12 at 16 different campus sites, with the winner of each site advancing to the Round of 16. The last four rounds, including the championship, will be held May 17-28 at the Dan Magill Tennis Center in Athens, Ga., where Georgia hosts.

NCAA Tournament matches are regulation dual matches with three eight-game, pro-set doubles played for one team point, followed by six singles matches, each valued at one team point, played best of three sets. Regular scoring will be used and a 12-point tiebreaker will be played at eight-games-all in doubles and at six-games-all in singles.

All seats at Taube Family Tennis Stadium are general admission, and Stanford's men's team will be hosting the first two rounds as well. Three-day all-session tickets are $18 (adult) and $12 (student/youth/senior). Single-day tickets are $7 (adult) and $5 (student/youth/senior). All-session tickets are available beginning at noon on Thursday, May 3, by calling 1-800-STANFORD or visiting Single-day tickets can be purchased on the day of competition at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium.


Report by Sam Rubin '95 (, Yale Sports Publicity