Although the Harvard women’s tennis team headed South for a pair of matches this weekend, all was not sunny for the Crimson. The squad faced two ranked opponents, losing, 5-2, against No. 57 Old Dominion on Sunday and falling, 6-1, to No. 31 William & Mary on Saturday.
Freshman Caroline Davis was Harvard’s lone victor on Saturday. Davis also won her match Sunday, as did sophomore Samantha Rosekrans.
“It is always a challenge and a privilege to play against ranked teams,” Crimson coach Traci Green said. “Now we will get some rest and get back on track.”
OLD DOMINION 5, HARVARD 2
After a humbling defeat the previous day, the Crimson did not fare much better Sunday versus Old Dominion, as Harvard lost, 5-2, to the Monarchs in Norfolk, Va. For the Crimson, Davis emerged victorious for the second straight day, and Rosekrans was the only other player to earn a point.
“We struggled a bit,” Green said. “We had a couple of key players sick.”
Freshman Camille Jania was unable to play because of a stomach virus, similar to that which had sidelined captain Laura Peterzan the previous day.
Rosekrans stepped up to play in the No. 3 position, which Jania usually occupies. Rosekrans took advantage of her opportunity, defeating Joanna Dobrowolska 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.
In other singles action, Harvard’s top player, No. 52 senior Beier Ko, suffered a defeat for the second-consecutive day. Ko lost 7-6, 6-1, to the Monarch’s Nadine Fahoum in the first position. Returning to action, Peterzan pushed No. 108 Charleen Haarhoff to three sets, but ultimately lost 7-5, 2-6, 6-3.
In the sixth position, Davis, trailing six games to five and behind 40-0, fought back for a gritty 7-5 first-set victory. Davis’ opponent, Marija Citic, then retired, to give Davis her second victory of the weekend.
In doubles action, the three Harvard pairings failed to win a match.
WILLIAM & MARY 6, HARVARD 1
The Tribe’s two nationally-ranked players proved too much for the Crimson. At No. 1 singles, No. 86 Katarina Zoricic took down Ko. Though Ko pushed the contest to a deciding third-set tiebreaker, Zoricic finished the match on a hot streak, ultimately downing the senior 4-6, 7-5, 10-2.
The loss was Ko’s first of the dual-match season, and she fell to 4-1 in singles play this year. In September, Ko easily beat Zoricic 6-2, 6-2 at the William & Mary Fall Invitational.
In the No. 2 position, No. 70 Ragini Acharya defeated Harvard freshman Camille Jania in straight sets, 6-1, 6-1. Jania filled the No. 2 position for Peterzan, who was out of action due to a stomach illness.
In the No. 3 through No. 5 positions, the Crimson was unable to win a single set, as Rosekrans (6-2, 6-2), sophomore Agnes Sibilski (6-4, 6-2) and freshman Louise Laciny (6-2, 6-2) all fell to their William & Mary counterparts.
The bright spot of the day for Harvard was Davis’ 6-0, 6-3 defeat of Maria Morrissey at No. 6.
“Towards the end of my doubles match with [partner Rosekrans], we really started to play well,” Davis said. “So I was confident in my shot going into my singles match. I knew that if I could keep the ball deep, [Morrissey] would make mistakes.”
Davis swept the first set, but in the second set she quickly fell behind three games to none.
“It was nerves,” Davis said. “But I buckled down and regained focus.”
In doubles play, William & Mary toppled the Crimson 8-2, 8-4 and 8-0 in the first, second and third positions, respectively.
Even with a tough weekend down South, Harvard is confident that sunnier days lie ahead.
“I know that these close matches will turn into wins,” Davis said.
The Crimson has more than a week off before its next match against Boston College on March 12.