If there were such a thing as a shut-out in tennis, then the Crimson suffered one this weekend at the Yale Invitational Men's Tennis tournament.
The Crimson, who usually dominate the open-format tournaments between eastern terms, failed to win any of the single or doubles flights.
"Our expectations were certainly higher than this," junior Dan Chung said. "It was pretty disappointing."
The three-day tournament belonged, instead, to the Brown squad, which captured the flight A, flight B and flight D singles titles.
Also participating in the tournament were Yale, Brown, Dartmouth, Providence College, Boston College and Temple.
"The teams looked really good this year," Crimson sophomore Mitty Arnold said. "That was a little bit of a surprise since a lot of good players graduated from the league least year."
Arnold defeated teammate Philip Tseng in the semifinals of the flight A draw before losing in the finals.
Tseng, a freshman playing in his first collegiate tournament, defeated the top seed in the flight A competition, Yale's Adam Mandell, in the first round.
"My first tournament experience here was pretty exciting," Tseng said. "The competition wasn't overwhelming, but it was good all-around."
Tseng noted one difference between college play and the junior ETA tournaments.
"In college you can be coached during the matches," Tseng said. "You don't gate that in the juniors. All three coaches [head coach Dave Fish and assistants Greg Russell and Ryu [wai] were really helpful."
Freshman Tom Blake also played in the Flight A draw, losing in the second round.
"I was nervous playing for the first time," Blake said. "That's why I didn't do so well."
In flight A doubles action, the Crimson duo of junior Ajay Mathur and senior Shawn Sullivan advanced to the semifinals before bowing out.
Harvard advanced the doubles tandem of senior Chris Laitala and junior Howie Kim into the finals of the flight B doubles, but they could not earn the Crimson a title in the championship match.
The Crimson was lacking in key areas over the weekend, as evidenced by the disappointing showing.
Although the Crimson had four players entered in the flight A singles, it lacked the one overwhelmingly-dominant player who could out-match the entire draw.
Captain Andrew Rueb and sophomore Todd Meringoff have proven in the past that they can dominate a singles draw, but both are still coming off injuries and were not in the lineup. Also, the lack of experience in match play hunt the Crimson throughout the tournament.
Besides a handful of challenge matches during practice, Harvard had played very few sets in preparation for the tournament.
With two weeks remaining until the ECAC tournament, however, there is ample time to address these deficiencies.
Both Meringoff and Rueb are probable for the pivotal tournament of the fall tennis season. And practices this week will give them more match experience.
"We were definitely rusty out there," Arnold said. "It'll get better, though, after we play some more matches in practice."
Still, the seeds of a promising season were not trampled by the results this weekend.
"The commitment, comradery, and talent is there," Tseng remarked of his new team.
Now they just have to wait for some positive results.