Crimson vs. Tigers
Ailing Netwomen Host Princeton Today
Harvard vs. Princeton.
A lot of emotion and history wrapped up in this match-up. It's the perennial struggle between two preppy, old style, Eastern Universities. It's Cambridge vs. Princeton. It's final clubs vs. eating clubs. It's John Kennedy vs. Woodrow Wilson. It's simply a war.
And this weekend, the battle field moves to Harvard's Palmer Dixon courts as the Princeton Tigers come to town for a match against the Harvard women's tennis team.
The Tigers (6-5 overall, 3-0 Ivy) roar into the Hub today with an undefeated record in the Ancient Eight, a five game winning streak, and the top spot in the Ivy League standings. They were the pre-season favorites to take the Ancient Eight title, and as of yet they haven't disappointed any one. Harvard comes into the match sporting a 2-8 record overall, 1-1 in the Ivies. Despite recent turmoil involving player discontent over Coach Gordan Graham, the Crimson has righted itself and is prepared to tame the tennis Tigers.
But Harvard knows that it will take its best effort--perhaps even more--to send Princeton home with the humiliation of an upset hanging over its collective head.
"We are excited to play Princeton," freshman Kelly Granat said. "But we know it will be tough. It would be a great win if we can pull it off."
Two potential problems may hinder Harvard's upset-minded intentions.
First: injuries, injuries and mo'injuries. A tennis team can only play well if it has the bodies to do it.
Harvard may struggle, pending the results of medical reports yesterday. The Crimson's number one singles player, freshman sensation Kate Roiter, was examined yesterday by a doctor.
After last weekend's match against Columbia, she began to feel bothered by a hurt shoulder. Although she may have a tendon problem, as of yesterday afternoon, players said she would be able to play.
Elsewhere in the medical ward, Erica Cheng lies ailing. Last weekend she was not able to make the trip to Columbia. As with Roiter, though, she is expected to give it a go today.
But even if the two can play, they may not be in top form, and Harvard cannot afford to face the Tigers with injured athletes.
The other potential problem the Cambridge women face is their somewhat inconsistent play. Since spring break the Crimson has gone 2-1. But just this past Saturday, Harvard fell to Columbia in a match that it had no business losing.
If the pre-Columbia squad shows up, Harvard should contend. But if its evil twin appears, it could get ugly down at the courts. But who plays for Harvard and how they play may ultimately not matter.
Princeton is on a tear. After falling in five straight matches to stronger teams out West, the Tigers have not lost a match. Four singles players, and three doubles teams are undefeated in Ivy League play.
They are the cream of the crop in the Ivy League. And usually the cream rises to the top. Harvard will have its hands full today. It will have to scratch and claw for all its points. Nothing will come easy. But then again, it's always a battle when Princeton and Harvard get together.
"We are excited to play Princeton. But we know it will be tough." Kelly Granat