Netmen Conquer Stunned Yalies, 8-1, Remain Undefeated in Ivy League Play
It's the stuff dreams are made of--a Crimson sweep of the 5singles competition to clinch an early win over the team boasting the best non-conference record in the Ivy League.
It just wasn't supposed to happen. But that's exactly what did occur when the Harvard men's tennis team marched home from the Palmer Dixon courts last Saturday with an 8-1 win over Yale. The triumph boosted the Crimson's record to 6-0 in the Ivies, 9-5 overall.
"If they keep playing like this, they can take the nationals," a stunned Yale coach said of the Crimson's top six.
This is pretty heady talk for a team that hasn't won an Ivy League title in years and has never qualified for the NCAA national tournament.
"They simply played the tennis I knew they were capable of playing," coach Dave Fish said, smiling with satisfaction over his team's increasing confidence and sparkling net play.
Howard Sands set the pace at first singles, easily dispatching Martin Wostenholme, 6-1, 6-4. Sands' precise groundstroking highlighted the match as he successfully thwarted Wostenholme's attempts to alter the game's speed. Wostenholme, a freshman from Ottawa, is currently ranked among the top ten in the world on the junior tournament circuit.
Following Sands' lead, Don Pompan grabbed a 6-2, 6-4 win at number two. The Crimson, captain never let Glenn Layendecker catch his breath as he chased the Yalie all over the court with pin-point volleying.
In the third singles slot, Adan Beren and Eli John Stiepel matched powerful serves, but Beren's quick reflexes and dazzling all-court play gave him the edge in the 6-3, 6-2 match.
The remaining players--Michael Terner, Warren Grossman and Bob Horne--continued the Harvard sweep, each emerging victorious in the minimum two sets.
The anti-climatic doubles competition saw a Yale squad determined not to return to New Haven empty-handed. Eli efforts proved futile in the first two confrontations, but Yale slipped away with an exciting 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 victory in the afternoon's final match.