Two Harvard double teams and two Crimson players reached final round matches in the Harvard Women's Tennis Invitational over the weekend at Beren Tennis Center.
Juniors Christina Dragomirescu and Nicole Rival reached the finals of their respective singles flights, while the doubles teams of Harvard Co-Captain Kristin Bland and Jamie Henikoff and Harvard Co-Captain Kathy Mulvehal and Jacki Farell both reached the finals of their doubles flights.
The tournament included some of the best teams in the country, including Arkansas, Boston College, Kansas, Kentucky (ranked 8th in the country), Princeton, Tennessee (ranked 21st in the country), and Yale. Harvard is ranked 24th in the country.
When opposing coaches mentioned Harvard in the past, they cited Harvard as an Eastern power. Now they're talking about Harvard as a national power.
"This is Harvard's best team," Kentucky Coach John Dinneen said. "They've got a lot of depth. They gave us all we could handle. No one should be suprised if they finish in the top 15--even the top 10."
While they didn't reach any of the finals, Amy deLone, Sharon Kosakowski, Jennifer Minkus, Tricia Small and Tanya Stasiuk were also impressive.
Dragomirescu captured the "B" singles flight with a convincing 6-2, 6-3 victory over Ann Waggoner of Tennessee. After falling behind, 3-0, in the second set, Dragomirescu rallied to win the next six games. The junior dominated her opponents, winning all of her matches in straight sets.
"We did very well," Dragomirescu said. "It was good to have everyone back. It was nice to see all of those white [Harvard] uniforms out there."
Several of the netwomen, including Bland and Farrell, have been out with various injuries.
"I think we had a great showing, "Mulvehal said. "We had at least one Harvard player in four of the six finals. It was a good tournament for everyone."
Rival, who played on the JV team last year, was impressive en route to the finals of the "C" division. Rival dropped a straight set decision to Kentucky's Lene Larsen. Before getting to the finals, Rival recorded big three-set wins over DeDe Dunkel of Tennessee and Helen Fabisiewicz of Kentucky.
In the "A" doubles flight, Bland and Henikoff, the 19th-ranked doubles team in the country, were playing their first match together since last spring. The duo recorded a big victory over Stacey Martin and Wendy Ouwendjik of Tennessee, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.
After pulling out a three set victory in the semifinals, the Crimson duo fell, 6-3, 6-2 in the finals to Sonia Hahn and Chris Karges, the nation's 12th ranked doubles team. Hahn and Karges eliminated deLone and Dragomirescu in the semifinals.
Mulvehal and Farrell reached the finals of the "B" doubles flight with three straight-set victories. In the finals, the duo dropped a 6-3, 6-2 decision to Fabisiewicz and Larsen. Fabisiewicz and Larsen defeated Harvard's Stasiuk and Minkus in a semifinal match.
Mulvehal, who was also in the "B" flight, reached the second round before falling to Arkansas' Sandy Schwan, 6-0, 6-2.
DeLone advanced to the second round in the "A" single bracket with a straight set victory over Loretta Sheales of Arkansas. But the sophomore dropped a 1-6, 6-1, 1-6 decision to Princeton's Diana Gardener, the 36th ranked player in intercollegiate tennis.
Stasuik, a transfer student from Princeton, reached the semifinals of the "A" flight before losing to Martin, a freshman from Tennesee, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. Even though she isn't a pro, Martin is ranked in the top 50 on the women's circuit. This summer she played in the U.S. Open.
Bland, who returned from an ankle injury, turned in an excellent performance. Bland destroyed Page Goins of Kansas and Aditi Viswanathan of Princeton in straight sets, but dropped a tough three setter, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 to Larsen in the semifinals.
In "D" singles, Harvard's Tricia Small lost to Hageman, 6-4, 6-1, while Kosakowski reached the second round before losing a 6-1, 6-3 decision to Ann Circle of Tennessee.
After winning her first match in straight sets, Minkus dropped a 7-5, 6-2 decision to Wendy Anderson of Tennessee.
"I think it was a very good tournament for us," Harvard Coach Ed Krass said. "The tournament sets a real good tone for the rest of our fall season. We outpointed Tenneesse unofficially, and we held our own with Kentucky."