The remarkable fall season of Harvard women’s tennis co-captains Elsa O’Riain and Melissa Anderson came to an end on Friday afternoon at the ITA National Indoor Championships in Columbus, Ohio. The Crimson doubles team, which had won the ITA Eastern Regionals to earn a berth in the exclusive 16-team doubles field of the National Indoors, was edged 9-8 in the quarterfinals by Jenna Long and Sara Anundsen of North Carolina.
After rallying for a come-from-behind victory over Aurelija Miseviciute and Ela Kaluder of Arkansas in their opening match on Thursday, O’Riain and Anderson built a 5-1 lead over the duo from Chapel Hill, which had bounced the tournament’s no. 2 seed in the opening round.
“We were playing really well...I kind of assumed that we were going to win,” O’Riain said. “Before we knew it, it was five all, six all, and then we got nervous.”
Long and Anundsen were able to trim Harvard’s edge to 7-6, with O’Riain serving to win the match. O’Riain was unable to get her solid first serve over consistently, and the Tar Heels took advantage, capturing the game and then holding serve to go up 8-7.
Anderson served the Crimson to a win in the next game, evening the score at eight. That sent the match into a tiebreak, which Long and Anundsen pulled out by a 7-4 tally, ending Harvard’s title hopes.
“I’m pretty satisfied [with the fall season],” O’Riain said. “It is a bit disappointing to end it like that, but then again we played four tournaments and lost [only] two matches, so something has to be going right.”
After being teamed together by coach Gordon Graham at the beginning of the fall tournament season, O’Riain and Anderson combined to go 14-2, winning the doubles title at the Cissie Leary Memorial and the ITA Eastern Regionals and reaching the quarterfinals in the ITA/Riviera All-Americans and the ITA National Indoors.
The women’s tennis team does not return to action until the end of January, when it begins its quest for a fourth consecutive Ivy League title.
“Our doubles teams are pretty much set—we know for the spring who’s going to play with who,” O’Riain said. “We’re all really pumped up.”
—Staff writer Caleb W. Peiffer can be reached at email@example.com.