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When Gail Ramsay’s teams were winning Ivy League or national championships, depth was the reason. There were no weaknesses in a lineup, and five wins were just as likely to come from the top as they were from the bottom.
Her hope is that the 2012-13 squad has that characteristic this season, and she will send her young, talented roster into a pair of early tests as the Ivy League season opens this weekend.
Five underclassmen are likely to compete, including freshmen Rachel Leizman and Tara Harrington, both of whom will make their Ivy debuts. Sophomores Niole Bunyan, Hallie Dewey and Alex Lunt will join that duo, though all three were tested multiple times in Ivy play last season; Bunyan moved up to the No. 3 position last season and earned All-America honors.
Senior Julie Cerullo will lead the way once again, and she will face her toughest opponent on Sunday in Harvard’s Amanda Sobhy, a former World Junior champion and the reigning CSA national team.
Princeton, ranked fourth currently, is 4-0 this season and has yet to lose a single individual match.
The Tigers will open the Ivy season Saturday against the eighth-ranked Dartmouth Big Green. After a season-opening loss to Harvard, the Big Green has won three straight matches. Dartmouth is led by No. 1 player Corey Schafer, while freshman Nina Scott has moved to the No. 2 spot.
Princeton takes on the top-ranked Harvard Crimson Sunday; Harvard is the reigning Ivy League and Howe Cup champion, and the Crimson is 4-0 on the season. While Sobhy is a constant at the top spot, sophomore Haley Mendez has looked strong at the No. 2 position.
This was one of the most dramatic matches in Ivy play last year. The Crimson won a 5-4 showdown en route to the Ivy title, though Princeton did have a match ball from Lexi Saunders with a chance to pull the upset. Both Bunyan and junior Libby Eyre were among the Princeton winners during the 2012 meeting in Boston.
Princeton will host Dartmouth Saturday at noon, while the Tigers will host Harvard Sunday at noon. Both matches will be followed by men's matches against the same schools. All matches can be seen live on GoPrincetonTigers.TV.