Netwomen Take N.E.'s
To the list of life's unanswerable questions-like "why am I here?", or "why does Harvard have crams after Christmas" add one more.
Can anyone stop the Harvard women's tennis team?
Wrapping up an unbeaten season this weekend on Soldiers Field with a sweep of the New England championships, the crimson may well have proven that the answer is no one.
The netwomen claimed four of the six flights-third and fourth singles, and both of the doubles-to insure their domination None of the other 12 schools in the tourney even came close, with Dartmouth in second place. 14.5 points behind.
Third-seeded freshman Kathy Vigna, probably the coolest cucumber ever to take a jaunt on the tarmac in the Ivies, sealed her perfect season with a Saturday win over Chris Staley of Dartmouth in straight sets. 6-1, 6-3.
The winning point, in which Vigna kept Staley glued to the baseline for eight exchanges before chopping a short backhand out of Staley's reach, epitomized Vigna's deft strategy. Her frighteningly consistent backcourt play was complemented by a strong serve.
Fourth-seeded Erica Schulman won the most harrowing match of the weekend against Boston University's Gail McCarthy, whose aggressive serve-and-volley game successfully broke Schulman's rhythm in the first 10 games of the three setter, 1-6, 7-6, 6-4
Schulman relies on a strong backhand and sneaky passing shot rather than Vigna type consistency Schulman's timing faltered in the first set, but she warmed up in the second, claiming the tie breaker with a brilliant melange of drop shorts and volleying.
The doubles teams also proved powerful with top-seeded Deanne Loonin and Debbie Kaufman trouncing a Dartmouth pair, 6-4, 6-3.
Number two pair Roberta Hing and Kirsten Beske gained momentum in the second set to down their opponents, 2-6, 6-1, 6-4
The doubles results defy anyone who might be skeptical of Harvard's versatility. Thrown into disarray by the injury of number two player Erika Smith early in the season, both doubles teams had played only a very few matches before this weekend.
Harvard's decisive win was only slightly tainted by Yale's decision not to attend the tournament because of midterms. Yale has fielded strong teams in the past, but their tall record was 1-3 this year.
The Crimson's real competition will come from another mid term absentee, Princeton, which barely edged out Harvard for last year's Eastern NCAA berth.
The Tigers also nipped Harvard in the ECAC championships last month, largely because of Smith's knee injury in the tournament.
With Smith back on the court in the spring, the Crimson might settle that unanswerable question once and for all.