The Harvard tennis team lost to Penn 5-2 in Philadelphia Friday, in the Crimson's first Eastern loss since it played on the Quakers hard courts two years ago. Harvard bounced back to a 7-2 win at Columbia, but the damage to their title defense hopes had already been done.
The Crimson dropped four of six singles to the Quakers, with Rocky Jarvis and Jose Gonzalez scoring Harvard's only points. Jarvis demolished Fred George at number four, 6-2, 6-0, and fifth man Gonzalez answered Richie Cohen's persistent lobbing with persistent slams for a 6-1, 6-4 win.
John Levin lost the first set to top Quaker City Hamlin before he could get untracked and succumbed, 6-2, 6-4. Bernie Adelsberg took, the first set off Penn's Fred Levin at number two, but the steady Sylvan wore down the Crimson's number two man, parlaying a steady backhand and Adelsberg's rusty volleying to a 6-8, 8-6, 6-3, decision.
Crimson captain Brain Davis couldn't break Spencer Burke's serve on the unfamiliar surface and fell in two long sets, 10-8, 6-4. John Appleby lost to Penn's Bill Powell at six, 6-1, 6-4.
Rain, dark, and the late hour made it impossible to get the three doubles in, but the coaches agreed to finish the first doubles, which had already been started, at the Downtown A.C.'s one indoor court. Levin and Jarvis captured the first set, but the last two, and the team match with it, went to Penn's Powell and Burke, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4.
The Crimson players got back some of their confidence in the 7-2 win over Columbia the next day. Adelsberg and Jarvis romped, and Levin played a stronger match, though he lost to Steve Gottlieb, a good left-hander, 6-8, 6-3, 6-2.
The bottom three -- Gonzalez, Appleby, and Steve Devereux -- all won three-setters. Appleby's was a 225-minute marathon, 11-13, 6-4, 6-4.
Levin and Jarvis copped the first doubles in three sets; Gonzalez and Dave Hodges won easily at second, and the Rick Sterne-Kent Parrot duo lost at three, 12-10.