What a difference one year makes.
Last year, the Harvard women's tennis team faced Boston University on Yom Kippur. Six of Harvard's top 12 players were unable to play because of their observance of the religious holiday. The Crimson subsequently lost for the first time in school history to the Terriers, 5-4.
Yesterday, B.U. literally did not have a prayer, as Harvard dominated with an 8-1 victory at the Palmer Dixon Tennis Center.
"They were so elated last year when they beat us. It was like they thought they were better than us," senior Tricia "Go Harvard" Small said. "It was great to beat them so convincingly to show them they're not even close."
Senior Co-Captain Amy deLone started the rout with an easy straight-set win over Stacy Vogel.
"I was really happy to beat her in straight sets," said deLone, who needed three sets to defeat Vogel last weekend in the Syracuse Tourney. "I was really concentrating well today."
Co-Captain Jamie Henikoff was just as convincing in her win over Shea McGuire. Henikoff kept McGuire off-balance with a great variety of shots and frustrated the Terrier by taking a lot of pace off the ball.
"She hits the ball so slow," said McGuire, annoyed at Henikoff's tactics.
Jenn Minkus gave the Crimson a 3-0 match lead with a 7-5, 6-2, win over Melissa Detwiler. Coach Gordon Graham was particularly pleased with the junior's play.
"After a tough weekend in Syracuse, Jenn came back to play some excellent tennis," Graham said.
Having lost the first set, Melinda Wang fought to a 3-6, 6-1, 7-5, nailbiter over Diane Ison, extending Harvard's lead to 4-0.
"At the end of the third set, I pretended I was practicing with my brother," Wang said. "If I had thought about how close the match was, I probably would have choked."
Moments after the Wang match, freshman Melissa McNabb, in her first appearance at Palmer Dixon, clinched the Crimson victory with another three-set triumph, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, over Jenn Manning. Rachel Pollock finished off the Harvard sweep of the singles with a win over Linda Kim.
With victory assured, the doubles matches provided the Crimson an opportunity to gain some low pressure playing experience. Henikoff and deLone quickly disposed of Vogel and Kim, despite experimenting with some new service returns. Minkus and Pollock also pulled through, 7-5, 7-5, over McGuire and Manning, saving two set points in the second set.
With only one doubles match to go, Harvard came within an eyelash of completing the shutout. Freshmen Samantha Ettus and McNabb were up, 5-2, in the third-set tiebreaker, but Ison and Detwiler put together five straight points to get B.U. on the board.
Graham, in his home coaching debut, was pleased with his team's play.
"Amy and Jamie were dominating as usual. We pulled out a few three-setters. We played good tennis," Graham said. "It would have been nice to win, 9-0, but we'll take 8-1 any day."
Amen. Crimson, 8-1 at Palmer Dixon Tennis Center
1. Amy deLone (HARVARD) d. Stacy Vogel (BU), 6-3, 6-2; 2. Jamie Henikoff (H) d. Shea McGuire (B) 6-2, 6-1; 3. Melissa McNabb (H) d. Jenn Manning (B), 3-6, 6-4, 6-2; 4. Rachel Pollock (H) d. Linda Kim (B) 6-2, 4-6, 6-4; 5. Melinda Wang (H) d. Diane Ison (B), 3-6, 6-1, 7-5; 6. Jenn Minkus (H) d. Melissa Detwiler (B), 7-5, 6-3.
1. deLone and Henikoff (H) d. Vogel and Kim (B), 6-2, 6-3; 2. Pollock and Minkus (H) d. McGuire and Manning (B) 7-5, 7-5; 3. Ison and Detwiler (B) d. McNabb and Ettus (H), 4-6, 6-1, 7-6.