April 15, 2009
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The No. 44 Bulldogs (13-5, 4-1 Ivy) will look to win their second straight Ivy League Title this weekend and earn their second straight NCAA berth when they host Dartmouth Friday and travel to Harvard Sunday.
Yale will celebrate senior day as part of the home match against Dartmouth. The match will mark the last regular season home match of seniors Janet Kim and Lilian Nguyen's Yale careers. The match against Dartmouth will also come as part of youth day, where the Yale women's tennis team will offer a free clinic to all kids in attendance immediately following the match.
NCAA Tournament Berth Tiebreaking Scenarios
With Yale, Princeton, and Brown all sitting at 4-1 in the Ivy League, the Ivy League Title could very well be split this season. In order to determine the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, Ivy League tiebreaking procedures will be put into effect. The following scenarios are the most likely. This weekend, Brown faces Harvard and Dartmouth, and Princeton faces Cornell and Columbia.
Last weekend, Yale extended its home winning streak to 19 matches with 7-0 victories over both Columbia and Cornell. Prior to these victories, the Bulldogs went on the road and defeated No. 46 Princeton 4-3 and Penn 6-1 April 3 and 4, respectively. Yale lost its Ivy League opener at Brown 4-3 March 29.
Over spring break, the Bulldogs traveled to Texas where they posted a 2-1 record. Yale's other four losses this season have all come against teams ranked in the top 30 of the ITA national rankings.
The key to Yale's season and its tiebreaker over Princeton and Brown may have come in the ECAC Championships. In what seemed at the time as merely a preview to the Ivy League season, the Bulldogs clinched a major tiebreaker over Princeton by defeating the Tigers in the ECAC Championships 4-3 on Feb. 15. In the semifinals of the ECAC Championships, the Tigers defeated Brown, and the Bulldogs defeated Dartmouth.
Kim and Nguyen have been contributors here at Yale all four years. Kim won Ivy League player of the year last season and is a three-time first-team All-Ivy singles player. Yale's No. 1 player the last three seasons, Kim has posted a 22-4 Ivy League record to date during her Yale career.
Nguyen has served as Yale's captain for the past two seasons. She started throughout the Ivy League season as both a freshman and sophomore. The past two seasons, Nguyen has served as a strong player off the bench for the Bulldogs adding depth and filling in the lineup when needed. Last week, Nguyen helped Yale earn victories over both Cornell and Columbia with her strong singles and doubles play.
These two seniors led Yale to its first NCAA Tournament berth last season along with its first Ivy League Title since 1989. Kim, who is currently ranked No. 101 in the ITA rankings, is the first Yale player to ever win the Ivy League Player of the Year award.
"Senior Day is always bitter sweet. It signifies that last regular season home match for Lilian and Janet, but it also recognizes all of their contributions to our program over the last four years," head coach Danielle Lund McNamara said. "I know that the team is going to do everything we can to send the seniors out on top - they deserve it! It's been a pleasure coaching Lilian and Janet over the last four years and they will be greatly missed."
Kids of all ages and abilities are invited to the Yale vs. Dartmouth match on Friday, April 17th at 2 p.m.
A FREE clinic, taught by the Yale Women's Tennis Team, will be offered to all kids in attendance immediately following the match. There will also be a chance to win great prizes and get an autographed team poster.
"I'm very excited about Youth Tennis Day at Yale and we're thrilled to have over 80 kids signed up for the event!," McNamara said. "It's a great way for the community to get excited about college tennis and for the players in our program to give back to the youth in our area. We're looking forward to getting on the court with the kids for the clinic and to doing more events like this in the future."
Yale defeated Dartmouth earlier this season 5-2 back on Feb. 14 as part of the ECAC Championships.
Last season, Yale clinched its Ivy League title and NCAA Tournament berth with a dramatic 4-3 victory over Dartmouth on the road in Hanover, N.H. The match came down to a third set tiebreaker for Lindsay Clark. She won her match 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (6) to clinch a Yale victory and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The Bulldogs cruised to a 7-0 victory over Harvard at home last season to clinch a share of the Ivy League Title.
Yale won this season's ECAC Championships. As the No. 1 seed, the Bulldogs traveled to Hanover to compete against six of the seven other Ivy League teams. Yale received a first round bye before defeating Dartmouth 5-2 in the semifinals. The Bulldogs pulled out a 4-3 win over Princeton in the finals.
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).
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 Petrelli 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.
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