The Harvard women's tennis team coldly received the two-time defending Ivy League champion Princeton tennis team yesterday afternoon at Beren Tennis Center, and beat the Tigers, 6-1. Princeton 1 Harvard 6
The netwomen (10-7 overall), ranked 31st nationally, fought through their Princeton opponents and the brumal conditions to capture two of the three doubles prosets and five of the six singles matches.
"We wanted to win decisively," junior co-captain Kate Roiter said. "Everyone fought hard out there and it was impressive how we all adjusted to the wind."
The Tigers--who had beaten the Crimson in their last two meetings, including a gut-wrenching 4-3 win last year at Princeton--came in with a 1-2 league mark and an injury-plagued lineup.
"We expected to win going in," coach Gordon Graham said. "We were able to win 6-1 because we pulled out the close matches, which is what we've usually done."
The Crimson took its first step towards avenging the losses of years past by winning the doubles point.
At second doubles, sophomore Gina Majmudar and freshman Mylin Torres won, 8-3. Freshmen Gabriela Hricko and Julia Kim also defeated their third doubles opponents, 8-3.
In the singles scene, Hricko dominated her fourth singles match, nothing a 6-1; 6-2 win. At fifth singles, junior co-captain Kelly Grant also buried her opponent, 6-3, 6-0.
Harvard was able to clinch the victory outright at third singles, with Roiter garnering a 6-3, 7-5 win.
"The girl I played had an unorthodox style," Roiter said. "It was hard to get a rhythm and I was a little impatient at times."
Roiter eventually put away her opponent with a combination of deep lobs and aggressive play at the net.
With the victory in hand, the rest was literally icing on the cake as the late-afternoon temperatures dropped into the forties.
Torres captured a closely contested 7-5, 7-5 decision at second singles.
"It was long and close," Torres said. "I haven't been playing well since the California trip and she [Princeton's Karen Hammerback] was good. She chased down everything."
At first singles, Majmudar came from behind to beat Princeton's Bridget Mikysa, 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.
The Crimson suffered its only setback of the afternoon at sixth singles where freshman Anna Chai dropped a 6-1, 6-3 decision.
Today Harvard takes the court against Cornell, which came into the weekend with a perfect 4-0 Ivy mark.
"They'll be coming out as hard as they can because it's their biggest match," Chai said. "But we all feel pretty good about our games and we're psyched for the match."
With Princeton behind them, the Big Red figures to be the largest obstacle between the netwomen and the Ancient Eight title--a title Harvard last won in 1992.
The Cornell squad features three players who are perfect on the season in league singles play--including the Big Red's first singles dominator, Olga Itskhoki, who is 11-0 lifetime in Ivy League matches.
"It's going to be a real battle," Graham said. "It seems like our team is up for it."