The Crimson bounced back at the Hilton Mission Valley Spring Classic this weekend in San Diego, Calif., to earn the championship in the consolation bracket.
Harvard (9-7) fell to East Tennessee State (10-6) in the first round of the tournament but then rebounded in consolation play with a 6-1 victory over University of Alabama-Birmingham (4-7) and a 4-3 win over the University of Denver (3-10).
“[Playing against East Tennessee] was a good chance for us to see high-level, patient tennis on a slow hard court,” said Harvard assistant coach Andrew Rueb. “We learned a lot of from that match and used what we learned in the next two matches. We were better at building points and waiting for the right opportunities.”
HARVARD 4, DENVER 3
Harvard wrapped up its second win of the weekend to take the consolation championship. The Crimson quickly moved ahead of the Pioneers by earning the doubles point. The duos of captain Aba Omodele-Lucien-freshman Casey MacMaster and junior Ali Felton-sophomore Andy Nguyen both won their matches
In the singles, the bottom of the lineup was key for Harvard, with the No. 3, No. 5, and No. 6 players each pulling out victories.
Sophomore Josh Tchan earned his second win of the weekend by double bageling his opponent, Angel Alvarez.
“I definitely had a change of strategy against my opponent,” Tchan said. “I think, strategically, I was just playing a lot smarter. I didn’t necessarily overpower him. I just strategically placed my shots well, and then, when the opportunity presented itself to win the point, I took it.”
Omodele-Lucien also toughed out another crucial victory for the Crimson. He rolled through two sets, 6-4, 6-2, against Jens Vorkefeld, for Harvard’s third point of the matchup
MacMaster was the only other player who was able to win for the squad. The victory did not come as easily, but he prevailed, 6-4, in the third set over Alex Clinkenbeard to earn the final point for the Crimson.
HARVARD 6, UAB 1
A day after losing five singles matches in the first round of the tournament, Harvard turned things around to display the same type of dominance over the Blazers.
The Crimson got off to a quick start by winning two of the three doubles matches to earn the first point. Felton and Nguyen cruised through their match, 8-2, over opponents Lucas Dirube and Daniel Moser, while Pearlman and Tchan toughed out an 8-6 victory against Chris Helliar and Danny Manlow.
Harvard continued its command of the matchup in the singles portion of the encounter. Five of the six players won their matches, three doing so in straight sets.
Pearlman won a tight first set, 6-4, against David Zimmerman, but then bageled his opponent in the second. MacMaster won his match in similar form, dropping just six games in two sets.