HANOVER, N.H. – After earning a share of the Ivy League title and the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament over a week ago, the No. 44 Dartmouth women's tennis team watched the NCAA.com selection show on Tuesday evening to find out who it is going to face in the postseason.
The Big Green will head to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to face No. 17 Kentucky. The first-round match will take place on Friday, May 12 at 10 a.m.
“We are very excited to have an opportunity to play Kentucky again,” head coach Bob Dallis said. “We're also looking forward to going back to Michigan. They are one of the top programs in the country and they do an outstanding job of hosting big events. It will be really nice to be so close to senior co-captain Jacqueline Crawford's hometown of Bloomfield.”
This will be Dartmouth's second team appearance at the NCAA Tournament in the last three seasons. In 2015, the Big Green received an at-large bid for the first time in program history, defeating William & Mary (4-1) in the first round before falling to No. 2 North Carolina (4-0) in the second. The following week, senior Taylor Ng – who was a sophomore at the time – became the first Dartmouth player to participate at the NCAA Singles Championship, falling to a player from Texas A&M.
Although the team did not qualify for the tournament in 2016, Ng and Kristina Mathis made history by becoming the first Big Green duo to make it to the doubles tournament, falling to a pair from Arizona State in the first round.
In 2017, Dartmouth ended the regular season with an overall record of 17-4 – its fewest losses since a 16-4 season in 2008 – and 5-2 in league play. Following a 4-3 win over Penn and a 5-2 victory over Princeton on April 22-23, the Big Green earned a share of the Ivy title with Harvard and Cornell, finishing first in the conference for the first time since 2011. By comparing head-to-head records against the next best team outside of the tie and continuing down the standings until the tie was broken, Dartmouth won its first-ever automatic bid by virtue of its win over Penn, a team that defeated both the Crimson and the Big Red.
Kentucky will enter next weekend's match with a record of 16-8, most recently falling to No. 11 South Carolina by a score of 4-3 in the third round of the SEC Tournament. Just five days earlier, the Wildcats had defeated the Gamecocks by the same score. Last season, Kentucky defeated Xavier in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to Michigan in the second.
The two teams last met on Jan. 23, 2016, at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend, which took place in Ann Arbor. The Big Green won the doubles point to get an early lead and played a trio of three-set matches against their opponent, ultimately dropping a hard-fought match by a score of 4-1.