After a strong performance against UMass last weekend, the No. 60 Harvard women’s tennis team dropped its contest at No. 40 Maryland on Saturday, 4-3, in College Park, Md.
Though usually commanding in doubles, the Crimson fell at the No. 1 and No. 2 spots fell to the Terps, and the doubles point proved to be the deciding factor in the match between the two ITA-ranked schools, which split the singles matches 3-3.
In singles, Cristina Stancu overtook junior co-captain Hideko Tachibana at the No. 1 position. At the No. 2 spot, fellow junior co-captain Kristin Norton also lost, falling to Ana Belzunce. Freshman Sylvia Li suffered Harvard’s third singles loss, falling to Mikele Irazusta at the No. 6 position.
The middle courts fared better for Harvard. Junior Camille Jania, senior Samantha Gridley, and sophomore Hannah Morrill each won at the third, fourth, and fifth court, respectively.
But with the doubles point earned for Maryland earlier in the match, the home team had the edge on the day and beat the Crimson, 4-3.
The match opened with Harvard’s No. 1 doubles team, Tachibana and Norton, who are ranked nationally as the 25th-best tandem, losing to Maryland’s 37th-ranked Belzunce and Welma Luus, 8-6.
The loss for Tachibana and Norton was uncharacteristic for the duo, which boasts a 9-2 record.
“[Belzunce and Luus] were better at playing with their own strategy,” Norton said. “If Hideko and I came into the match a little more poised and were a little more aggressive and played our game like usual, then I think we could have won. But I think we were a little too tentative in the beginning.”
Belzunce and Luus quickly took the early lead, going 2-0 to begin the day. After the match, Norton identified the poor start as the main reason for her tandem’s loss.
“Especially in these eight-game pro sets, you have to get an early lead usually because it can go by fast, and we weren’t able to do that,” Norton said. “So I think that was the main reason we lost.”
Harvard’s other loss came at the No. 2 doubles court, where the Terps took control of the match, winning 8-2.
At the No. 3 position, the Crimson duo of Jania and Gridley kept the visitors from being swept in the doubles with an 8-4 victory over Maryland. But their win was not enough for Harvard, and the Terps transitioned into singles matches with a 1-0 lead from the doubles point.
Jania and Gridley’s success carried over to their singles matches.
At the No. 3 spot, Jania kept Luus to a clean slate, shutting out her foe, 6-0, 6-0.
One court over at the No. 4 position, Gridley also claimed a convincing victory, winning 6-1, 6-4.