Junior co-captain Holly Cao lost in a doubles game in the Crimson’s matchup against No. 73 William and Mary on Saturday but redeemed herself with a close 9-7 doubles win over a duo from No. 63 Purdue. Harvard split its weekend matchups before a two-week hiatus.
After suffering an emotional defeat to No. 73 William and Mary on Saturday, the No. 68 Harvard women’s tennis team went full-steam ahead to defeat the No. 63 Boilermakers, 5-2, last night at the Murr Center.
“We lost a heartbreaker yesterday, and we knew today was going to be a dog fight,” Crimson coach Terri Green said. “We were ready to fight the whole way through.”
NO. 68 HARVARD 5, NO. 63 PURDUE 2
Fight Harvard did. First-time doubles teammates, junior Sam Gridley and freshman Amanda Black, gave Harvard an 8-6 victory after being down, 6-3. The No. 2 doubles team of freshman Hannah Morrill and junior co-captain Holly Cao also battled to a tough 9-7 win, while Harvard’s No. 1 duo, sophomores Kristen Norton and Hideko Tachibana, dropped their match, 8-6, to Purdue’s Jennifer Rabot and Mara Schmidt.
Taking the doubles match provided a rallying point for the Crimson.
“We just tried to focus on our energy rather than our game, screaming after every point,” Gridley said. “It really worked, and our games elevated to match our energy.”
This energy transferred to Harvard’s singles play as well, with the Crimson taking four of the six matches.
Cao pulled in an easy victory in No. 1 singles, winning 6-0 in the first set and 6-3 in the second, while Tachibana grabbed a win with scores of 6-4, 6-4, in the second slot.
After tying the match at one set each, Norton slammed the ball out of reach of her opponent to produce a 6-3 comeback win in final point of the No. 3 singles match.
“She was hitting it deep a lot, and I was just missing everything,” Norton said, “I decided to change my game plan and come in more, and I started to make more shots.”
Relying on her speed and net play, Gridley dominated the first set, 6-2, fell 6-4 in the second, and stuck out a lengthy third set to win, 10-8.
Morrill dropped her No. 5 match to the Boilermakers’ Imogen Golder, 6-2, 6-3. Sophomore Alex Lehman also suffered a 7-5, 6-4 loss to Purdue’s Gisella Pere.
“I feel like our mental toughness really shined today,” Green said.
NO. 73 WILLIAM AND MARY 4, HARVARD 3
Harvard fell 4-3 to the Tribe, dropping the deciding point in the doubles matches.