Feb. 11, 2009
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The No. 63 Bulldogs will travel to Hanover this weekend to compete in the ECAC Championships against six other Ivy League teams. Fans will be able to watch matches live online through a free web stream available on Dartmouth's website. Yale will be the No. 1 seed in the tournament and will get a first round bye.
Also participating this weekend in the ECAC Championships will be No. 2 seed Princeton (ranked No. 52 in the country), No. 3 seed Brown, No. 4 seed Harvard, No. 5 seed Dartmouth, No. 6 seed Cornell, and No. 7 seed Columbia.
As a result of the first round bye, the Bulldogs will play their first match Saturday at 12:30 p.m. against the winner of the Harvard-Dartmouth match.
With seven Ivy League teams participating this weekend, head coach Danielle Lund McNamara said the team will use this weekend as a measuring stick.
"We're really looking forward to the ECAC Championships this weekend," McNamara said. "Every match is going to be a battle and the team that is mentally and physically tougher will prevail at the end of the weekend. I'm very confident in our team's preparation going into the tournament and I'm looking forward to seeing how our team competes. Even though this event doesn't affect the Ivy League standings, there is a lot of pride on the line and we want to represent Yale well."
Seven of Yale's 19 spring semester opponents were nationally ranked in preseason rankings (No. 12 Vanderbilt University, No. 19 University of Michigan, No. 24 University of Tennessee, No. 54 Western Michigan, No. 61 Princeton, No. 67 Penn, and No. 72 SMU). The Bulldogs matches against Vanderbilt and Michigan will have extra meaning as they are against assistant coach Amanda Fish and McNamara's respective alma maters.
The match against SMU will come as part of a four match spring break trip to Texas.
On January 19, the Bulldogs hosted Brown in a scrimmage. The two teams did not play with full lineups, but rather, played five singles matches and three doubles matches.
Senior Janet Kim, junior Jessica Rhee, and junior Sarah Lederhandler all won singles matches for Yale. The doubles teams of Kim and freshman Vicky Brook and Rhee and sophomore Stevi Petreelli won their respective doubles matches.
2008 Ivy League Champions
Yale posted an undefeated 7-0 record in the Ivy League to win its first Ivy League Title since 1989 and its first outright Ivy League Title since 1981. In their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance, the Bulldogs fell first round against No. 2 seed Georgia.
The Bulldogs finished the year with an Intercollegiate Tennis Association East region ranking of No. 6 and an ITA national ranking of No. 74. The East Regional rank of No. 6 is the highest of an Ivy League team in the end of the year rankings. The Bulldogs trailed only William & Mary, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Virginia, Marshall, and Virginia Tech in the end of the year regional rankings.
2008 Ivy League Player of the Year
Janet Kim became the first Yale player to earn the Ivy League Player of the Year award. Kim was 6-1 in league matches at No. 1 singles. For the third straight year, Kim was recognized with a first team All-Ivy singles selection. The selection was unanimous for Kim, who posted a 13-6 record.
Kim begins the year ranked No. 15 in the ITA East regional singles rankings.
Six Returning Starters
Kim is not the only returning starter for Yale. In fact, the Bulldogs return all six singles starters from last year's Ivy League Championship team. Sophomore Lindsay Clark, who played No. 3 singles last season and was named second team All-Ivy last season, begins the year ranked No. 24 in the East regional singles rankings. Yale also returns second team All-Ivy selection junior Jessica Rhee, who played No. 2 singles last season. Junior Sarah Lederhandler, sophomore Stevi Petrelli, and sophomore Lauren Ritz played No. 4, 5, and 6 singles last season, respectively.
One New Addition
While the Bulldogs return a full squad from last year's Ivy League Championship team, they will have to make room for freshman Vicky Brook.
The freshman from London, England arrived at Yale this year and had an unbelievable Fall season. Shrugging off any evidence of being a newcomer to tennis at the collegiate level, Brook jumped right in at the Cissy Leary Invitational. In the tournament, Brook advanced all the way to the finals of the Red Bracket before losing. Brook followed this performance up with an even better one at the USTA Invite. Brook won the singles VI draw in the tournament. But she saved her best for the end of the fall season. She won the Yale Invitational Blue Singles Draw, the top draw of the tournament.
Now, after completing the fall season with a 12-2 record, Brook enters the dual match season with a No. 19 ranking in the ITA East Regional rankings.
The Blue Aces Fan Club
The Blue Aces Fan Club is the official fan club for the Yale Bulldogs women's tennis team. It's free to join. The perks of membership are free food at designated home matches, the opportunity to compete in games to win prizes between doubles and singles, and the chance to win a free X-Box 360.
Report Filed by Steven Horn '10, Yale Sports Publicity