The No. 23 Harvard men's tennis team made its mark on the national scene this past weekend, going 1-2 in team play against some of the top programs in the country, including a near-upset over No. 11 Southern Methodist.
At the United States Tennis Association (USTA)/Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Indoor Team Championships in Louisville, Ky., the Crimson (7-2) defeated New Mexico, 4-3, on Sunday, after falling on Thursday to No. 7 UCLA, 8-0, and barely losing, 5-2 to No. 11 SMU on Friday.
"When I look at where we were in September compared to how we are performing this weekend, and the progress that the guys have made, it's very strong," Coach Dave Fish '72 said.
The tournament was played under experimental new rules in which a team that swept all three doubles matches earned two points instead of the usual one point. A team that wins the doubles 2-1 earns just one point.
Harvard 4, New Mexico 3
In a difficult match against a tough Lobo team, the Crimson managed to hold New Mexico off for to earn its only win of the weekend.
In the doubles matches, co-captain John Doran and freshman Cillie Swart captured the No. 2 slot early, winning 8-4. Sophomore William Lee and junior Andrew Styperek fell 8-5 at No. 3 doubles, setting up a showdown at No. 1 doubles. Co-captain Joe Green and freshman Dave Lingman took an 8-6 win over the No. 48 doubles team in the country of Matt Amgwerd and Nicolas Dubey.
Harvard entered the singles matches up 1-0 but still needed to split the singles contests to win the match.
Junior Mike Rich fell 6-3, 6-2 at No. 5 singles, and Lingman lost in straight sets at No. 2 singles to Amgwerd, ranked eighth in the nation.
The other four matches split sets and went to a special tiebreaker instead of the usual third set.
At No. 5 singles, Lee won 10-5 in the tiebreaker, and Swart captured his tiebreaker, 10-8 at No. 6.
Doran fell at No. 1 in the tiebreaker, setting up Green, as the savior.
Green did not disappoint at No. 3 singles, winning 10-7 in the tiebreaker as his teammates cheered him on.
SMU 5, Harvard 2
A win over the No. 11 Mustangs would have been a huge win for the Crimson, but it was not to be this time around.
Doran and Swart got things rolling early with an 8-5 win at No. 2 doubles. Styperek and Lee secured the doubles point with an 8-5 win at No. 3. But Green and Lingman, the 29th-ranked doubles team in the country, fell in a tiebreaker to Toby Hansson and Jon Wallmark, who are ranked 11th in the nation.
After Styperek lost his match at No. 5 singles and Green won his in straight sets at No. 3 singles, Harvard appeared to be in the driver's seat, up 2-1.
But the four matches that went to tiebreakers all ended up in the Mustangs' favor.
Lingman fell 14-12 in the tiebreaker at No. 2 singles. Lee then fell at No.5 singles and was followed by junior Andrew Barker losing at the sixth slot.
Doran fell 11-9 to Hansson in a tiebreaker at No. 1 singles, providing the Lobos' winning margin.
UCLA 8, Harvard 0
No. 7 UCLA swept the doubles early to jump out to a 2-0 lead and control of the match on Thursday.
In the singles, Styperek was the first to fall in straight sets at No. 5. He was joined by Green at No. 3, who fell 6-3, 7-5.
Lee managed a split at No. 4 against Lassi Ketola, but lost a tiebreaker, 10-7.
Lingman, Barker and Doran all lost their singles matches despite valiant fights against quality opponents.