In boxing, fighters use a sparring partner to prepare for each fight.
Yesterday, the nation's 25th-ranked Harvard women's tennis team used Brown as its sparring partner. After absorbing a flurry of punches, the Bruins retreated to Providence, thankful that they don't have to see the Crimson until next year.
The Crimson recorded a convincing 9-0 victory over Brown to up its record to 14-7 (3-0 Ivy) in front of 50 spectators at Palmer Dixon Courts.
"We just plowed right through them," Crimson Co-Captain Cyndy Austrian said. "We're playing flawless tennis right now. We're all psyched about playing Yale."
Today, Harvard will meet Yale (a 5-4 loser to Dartmouth yesterday) in a real bout. The Elis (15-5, 4-1 Ivy) are one of the Crimson's main roadblocks on its path to a sixth-straight Ivy title. Dartmouth (10-1, 4-0) will also present problems when the teams meet Wednesday.
Thanks to yesterday's knockout of Brown, Harvard has now won 30 straight Ivy matches. Harvard has also won 33 of its last 35 singles and doubles matches in straight sets.
In doubles competition yesterday, Austrian and Kathy Mulvehal were the first duo to finish. The number-three doubles team cruised to a 6-2 victory in the first set and then toyed with Stephanie Heidmann and Sarah Howard in the second set, before finishing them off, 6-0.
At number-one doubles, the nation's 39th-ranked team of Co-Captain Kristin Bland and Jamie Henikoff recorded a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Jill Dunkel and Gillian Leonard.
After falling behind 40-30 with the score tied at 2-2 in the first set, Bland and Henikoff scored 14 of the last 15 points to capture the set. The duo clinched the match with a 6-4 second-set victory.
In the number-three doubles match, Christina Dragomirescu and Amy deLone recorded a 6-1, 6-4 decision over Samantha Shea and Linda Molumphy.
Bland, the number-one singles player, defeated Shea, 6-1, 6-2 to lead the netwomen to a sweep in singles. Jacki Farrell followed up Bland's win with a 6-2, 6-0 victory.
After dropping the first set at number-five singles, deLone rallied to win the next two sets and match. At number-two singles, Henikoff cruised to a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Dunkel, while Cyndy Austrian used a masterful serve and volley game to crush Leonard, 6-3,6-2.
Mulvehal closed out the match for Harvard with a 6-2, 6-0 thumping of Howard. Mulvehal kept the ball in play with solid deep ground strokes which Howard had a hard time returning.
"Everybody's looking forward to Yale," Coach Ed Krass said. "We're expecting that it will be the closest thing to a war that you can have on a tennis court."
Unfortunately for Yale, Harvard has nine nuclear bombs in its arsenal.