No. 19 W. Tennis Topples Eagles
Despite a loss to the Eagles in last year’s match due to a weak line-up, the Crimson proved to have a healthy roster available at yesterday’s match, making its victory quick and considerable.
One round of doubles and three rounds of singles was all it took for Harvard to shut down Boston College, sealing the necessary four out of seven wins.
Harvard got off to a positive start as it dominated the doubles event.
Harvard received the doubles point as a result of its victories, even though a team must only win two out of the three matches to earn the doubles point.
Tennis doubles are scored in an eight-game pro set, where the first team to win eight games receives the doubles point of the competition.
The Crimson’s No. 1 doubles team, consisting of senior Courtney Bergman and sophomore Elsa O’Riain, was the first of Harvard’s three teams to pick up a win with 8-3.
The No. 1 duo pulled away with a commanding lead of 4-1 early on in the competition.
With two aces in the second half of sets, O’Riain brought the pair’s lead further and eventually helped lead the duo to its victory over Boston College.
“I think for putting me and Elsa back together just recently, it has been one of the best matches we’ve played,” said Bergman. “We’re getting stronger. We’re going to stay together the rest of the year. It was nice to see that we played a pretty good team and won pretty convincingly.”
No. 2 doubles Melissa Anderson and Stephanie Schnitter defeated Boston College 8-4 followed by Eva Wang and Alexis Martire at the No. 3 spot also winning with 8-4.
With one point already to its credit, the Crimson entered the singles competition one up on Boston College.
The dominance did not end with the doubles competition, as Harvard erased all traces of last year’s defeat by winning five of the six singles matches.
“Today was a good day to prove ourselves,” senior Susanna Lingman said. “We knew that we shouldn’t have lost last year, so this was a good opportunity for us.”
As Bergman, the Crimson’s regular No. 1 singles player, sat the match out to help heal her torn meniscus, Lingman, most often at No. 2, stepped up to fill the spot.
Lingman proved capable of representing the No. 1 position as she defeated Boston College’s Nida Waseem 6-3 in the first set, followed by an improved 6-2 in the second set.
“You face every match just like any other match and you don’t worry about what position you are playing,” Lingman said, unfazed by her upgrade in position.
The team seemed to be in sync with Lingman’s two set sweep, as four of Harvard’s other players achieved wins in the first two sets, leaving no need for a final third set.
No. 2 singles player Martire quickly eliminated Boston College’s Morgan Landes as she went 6-1 in the first set followed by a closer 6-4 win in the second set.
Anderson and Preethi Munkundan, No. 3 and No. 4 players, succeeded on the courts with 6-2, 5-1 and 6-4, 6-2 wins.
Other performances included No. 5 Schnitter who was able to top the Eagles with 6-2, 5-1 wins.
Cindy Chu, Harvard’s No. 6 player, was unable to trump Boston College on the courts as she fell 6-4, 7-5, respectively.
Coach Gordon Graham noted that while a win against a competitive, non-Ivy League team such as Boston College was noteworthy, the team is capable of beating teams with much higher rankings.
This season the women have beaten No. 6 Arizona State, suffered a close 4-3 loss to No. 2 Northwestern and faced its closest loss to No. 1 Stanford of all teams that have competed against the Cardinals this year.
Graham has set his sights high for the NCAA tournament where he hopes that all his players will be healthy and able to turn in solid performances.
“We’ve got a very talented and competitive team,” Graham said. “They fight hard and compete tough. I just hope we can get healthy in time to really do something at the NCAA tournament.”
Harvard finishes out its Ivy League competition as it faces Yale, Brown and Dartmouth within the next week.
While the Crimson will most likely walk away with wins against all three schools, Yale will prove to be the toughest of the three.
“I think Yale is going to be the closest match out of those, but I think we are going to go into it with the same mentality that every match is important,” said Bergman.
The women are expected to bring home the Ivy League title—which would require victories against the remaining three Ivy League schools—automatically qualifying them for the NCAA tournament in mid-May.
Regardless of an Ivy League win, Harvard has had enough wins this season that it would compete in the tournament.
Graham remains confident that a healthy team will succeed throughout the duration of the season.
“We know we’re a good team, one of many good teams, and now we just want to have a chance to get healthy, go play, and see what happens.”
The Crimson will take on Yale this Thursday at 2 p.m. at the Beren Tennis Center.