After capturing the Ivy League crown last Wednesday with a win over Dartmouth, another victory over the highly ranked Syracuse squad Saturday would have been the perfect way to cap a successful season. Harvard 3 Syracuse 6
Unfortunately for the Crimson, however, the proverbial icing on the cake was not to be had. The Orangemen, on the strength of four singles and two doubles wins defeated Harvard, 6-3.
The loss dropped the Crimson to 14-9 on the season (7-0 Ivy) and left it in third place in the NCAA Eastern Region, behind top-ranked William and Mary and Syracuse.
With only William and Mary likely to receive an NCAA bid from the East Region, Saturday's match had no tournament ramifications.
"Going in we wanted to win obviously," junior co-captain Kate Roiter said. "But at the same time I don't think we had the same desire and intensity as in the Ivy matches and the William and Mary match."
Unlike the Ivy League format, the match began with the six singles matches and finished with three doubles matches--each of which was worth a team point.
In singles play the Crimson started slowly with both sophomore Gina Majmudar and Roiter dropping the first sets of their respective first and third singles matches, 6-0. Neither was able to recover as Majmudar lost the second set, 6-4, and Roiter fell 7-4 in the second-set tie-breaker.
The third singles match featured a battle of freshmen between Harvard's Gabriela Hricko and Syracuse's Nicole Strnadova. Hricko--who was undefeated in Ivy play at third and fourth singles--was not so fortunate Saturday, losing 6-3,6-2.
However, the Crimson was able to garner two team points at fifth and sixth singles. Granat, also undefeated in Ivy action, continued to dominate the fifth singles arena, defeating her opponent 6-3,7-5.
"I got down 3-1 in the second set and she started to get the momentum," Granat said. "But I was able to break down her game and take her out of her groove."
At sixth singles, sophomore Maryla Madura put away her opponent, 6-2, 6-2.
"I played real well," Madura said. "I felt like I was the better player."
"I was playing on the court next to Maryla," Roiter said. "She seemed to be dominating the whole match."
Despite only winning two of the singles matches, the Crimson still had a shot--at least mathematically--of pulling the match out. All it had to do was sweep the doubles matches.
Standing in the way, however, were three formidable Syracuse doubles teams--including the first doubles tandem of senior Erica O'Neill and junior Jana Strnadova, which was ranked in the top-10 nationally.