The No. 45 Dartmouth women's tennis team will open the 2017 NCAA Tournament on Friday when it faces No. 17 Kentucky in the first round.
SEASON AT A GLANCE
The Big Green 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 Ivy League play. Following a 4-3 win over Penn and a 5-2 victory over Princeton on April 22-23, Dartmouth 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, the Big Green won their first-ever automatic bid by virtue of its win over the Quakers, a team that defeated both the Crimson and the Big Red. This will be Dartmouth's second trip to NCAAs, after receiving an at-large bid and making its tournament debut in 2015.
LET'S REWIND A BIT
This will be Dartmouth's second trip to NCAAs, after receiving an at-large bid and making its tournament debut in 2015. The Green faced William & Mary in the opening round and defeated the Tribe by a score of 4-1 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.
SCOUTING THE WILDCATS
Kentucky – which will be making its fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance – enters the weekend 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 first and only time the teams met was 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.
Three Dartmouth players were named to the All-Ivy Women's Tennis Teams at the conclusion of the regular season. Ng was selected to the first team for both singles and doubles for the third season in a row, joining Mathis on the first team for doubles. Jacqueline Crawford was named to the second team for singles, receiving postseason honors for the first time in her career.
Dartmouth and Kentucky are joined in the regional by host Michigan and Horizon League champion Youngstown State. After the Big Green/Wildcat matchup at 10 a.m. on Friday, the Wolverines and the Penguins will face each other at 1 p.m. and the winner of those two matches will play at 1 p.m. the following day.