University of Pennsylvania tennis coach Al Molloy hopeful but at the same time realistic, shortly before yesterday's match with the Harvard netmen. "I'm expecting a 3-3 score after singles," he said, while for some reason declining comment on the doubles matches.
That's exactly what happened. But the Crimson squad, deadlocked with the Quakers at three-all after the singles, pulled some key games out of their top hats during the doubles competition, sweating its way our of Philadelphia with a too-close 6-3 win under their belts.
Following the match, from a gas station somewhere between Philly and New York, Crimson coach Dave Fish explained what was wrong with the squad, which by all accounts should have won the match easily. "We were a little overconfident" he said, adding, "I think there's a tendency to look toward the big matches at the end of the season."
Between that overconfidence and dozens of sunning Quaker rooters, the match was a struggle all the way. Number one singles player Don Pompan worried about his upcoming match with the MCATs, and he lost a couple of rough sets to Murray Robinson, whom he had narrowly defeated last year, 6-4, 6-4.
Howard Sands played his usual solid match at number two, smashing a victory with two 6-4 scores. Warren Grossman then had an easy time with UPenn third slotter Glennis Merritt, blazing past the Quaker. 6-1, 6-3.
With the first three matches over, things started to get interesting, if not a little dangerous. First Mike Terner, who Fish says recently moved up to number four, lost a close match to Eben Hardy, 7-6, 6-4. The captain Bob Horne at number five lost a 5-2 tie breaker in the second set to Richard Smithline, thus bowing 6-4, 7-6. With only sixth singles yet to finish, Harvard was down, 3-2.
Adam Beren then played the match of the day for the Crimson, rebounding from a 6-2 first-set drubbing to record back-to-back 6-2 wins in the last two sets to grab the win in the match. Beren's victory meant the Crimson had tied up the match going into doubles.
Then the netmen did what they hadn't been doing convincingly all year; that is, win doubles matches under pressure of losing the match. This time around, Greg Kirsch came out "like a ball of fire," teaming with Terner to smash the UPenn third doubles, 6-3, 6-2. The other two doubles matches extended into three sets each, with number one Pompan and Sands winning 4-6, 6-1, 6-1, and Beren and Grossman topping Hardy and Smithline, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.