NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Annie Sullivan (Deerfield, Ill.), a rising senior who has earned All-Ivy honors in all three of her seasons for the Bulldogs, has been elected captain of the Yale women's tennis team for 2013-14. Sullivan was selected in a team vote Monday and will take the reigns from graduating captain Elizabeth Epstein '13, her most frequent doubles partner over the past two years. No. 35 Yale (17-4, 6-1 Ivy League) ended its season in heartbreaking fashion Saturday with a 4-3 loss to No. 23 Georgia Tech in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
"This year was great for us," Sullivan said. "Winning the Ivy League for the third time in a row was an amazing accomplishment for the program. Although we were disappointed we didn't make it further in NCAAs, this year taught us that we are competitive with the toughest teams, and that with hard work and commitment, we can continue to take our program to new heights."
Sullivan, whose teammates, in addition to electing her captain, awarded her the Lisa Rosenblum Award for most valuable player Monday, was a dominant force at singles this spring, going 19-1 with one unfinished match. While she began the season playing Nos. 4 and 5, she earned a crucial win at No. 3 against Arkansas on Feb. 3, helping the Bulldogs edge the Razorbacks, 4-3. On Mar. 15, Sullivan struck again at the No. 3 position, this time eking out a three-set win over then-ranked No. 110 Ale Granillo to clinch another 4-3 win for her team, as well as a spot in the semifinals of the Blue-Gray National Tennis Classic. Sullivan went on to finish the season at No. 3, winning all seven of her Ivy League matches and earning second team All-Ivy honors for her efforts.
Sullivan also made second team All-Ivy at doubles with Epstein. The pair played about half the season together at No. 1, going 9-4 overall and 2-2 in the Ivy League before finishing the season with other partners. Sullivan is one of the Bulldogs' strongest doubles players; during her sophomore year, she went 21-1 with Epstein and 6-3 with then-freshman Amber Li. She and Epstein were second team All-Ivy. In her first year at Yale, Sullivan earned the same honor at doubles with Lindsay Clark '11. The pair helped the Bulldogs earn their first-ever NCAA Tournament win, a 4-2 victory over William & Mary (May 14, 2011) in which they upset the No. 43 doubles pair in the country to clinch the doubles point. Sullivan also won her singles match at No. 5.
Sullivan's junior year got off to a good start this fall, when she went 8-2 at singles and 14-2 at doubles. She saw success with various partners, reaching the quarterfinals of the USTA/ITA Division I Northeast Regional Championship with freshman Madeleine Hamilton, defeating then-ranked No. 38 pair Melissa Bolivar and Lina Lileikite of the University of Miami (Fl.) with Epstein and winning the Cissie Leary Invitational with senior Sarah Guzick. At singles, she also reached the finals of the Cissie Leary Invitational's top flight.
Over the past three years, Sullivan has been a key member of a Bulldogs team that has made three NCAA Tournament appearances and won three Ivy League titles and two ECAC Indoor Team Championships. Yale has gone 59-13 (19-2 Ivy League) over the past three seasons. Most impressively, with a 34-match home winning streak, the team has not lost a match in New Haven since Sullivan's senior year of high school.
"It's an honor to be elected captain by my teammates," Sullivan commented. "Both of the seniors have done such an incredible job leading the team this year…I am excited to follow in their footsteps next year."
Sullivan is a history major and a resident of Berkeley College. Prior to Yale she attended Woodlands Academy. She will captain a Bulldogs team returning four of six singles players and five of six doubles players from its NCAA Tournament lineup.
"I am looking forward to a great season next year with my teammates," said Sullivan. "We have many goals for our season and one of them is certainly to defend our Ivy championship. Outside of the league, our goal is to continue to build a program that can one day win a NCAA championship…I am confident we will continue to improve on the successes of this past year."
Report by Joe Giammittorio '15, Yale Sports Publicity