The Harvard women’s tennis team split its matches against University of Iowa and University of Central Florida in Orlando, Fla., this weekend.
In its first away contest in five matches, the Crimson began Saturday with a 5-2 victory over the Hawkeyes, but its four-game winning streak came to an end Sunday afternoon when the Knights beat Harvard by the same score, 5-2.
Doubles play continued to be a strong point for the Crimson, which took both doubles points in its two matches.
Junior co-captain Hideko Tachibana was the only player to win each of her singles matches, but senior Samantha Gridley, sophomore Natalie Blosser, and sophomore Hannah Morrill all posted at least one win on the weekend.
CENTRAL FLORIDA 5, HARVARD 2
After scoring the initial doubles point, Harvard was outmatched in singles play and lost on five of the six courts to lose the contest, 5-2.
“I think we all set the point really well but we just couldn’t put it away,” Norton said. “We have to give UCF credit because they just came out ready to win and they played really well.”
Though the overall score was lopsided, the teams were evenly matched, with three singles matches spilling over into third sets and two of the remaining three going into extra games within a set.
Doubles competition was just as close. At the No. 1 position, Tachibana and fellow junior co-captain Kristin Norton dropped their match, 9-8 (7-5), but Morrill and freshman partner Kelly Whelan defeated the Knight’s Alexis Rodriguez and Jenna Doerfler by the same tiebreaker, 9-8 (7-5). The No. 3 spot did not go into extra sets, but the tally was close nonetheless, with the duo of Gridley and Blosser coming out on top, 8-6.
With Harvard leading 1-0, UCF made its comeback by winning its matches on the No. 2 through No. 6 courts.
Playing as No. 2, Norton fell to Genevieve Lorbergs by a score of 6-3, 7-6 (8-6). In another extra-games match, Doerfler defeated Gridley, 7-5, 6-3, at the No. 3 position. The Knights’ third team point came from Josephine Haraldson, who beat Whelan on the No. 5 court, 6-4, 6-2.
The remaining three head-to-head matchups took three sets to decide the winners.
UCF’s Courtney Griffith took down Morrill, 6-3, 2-6, 6-3, playing at the No. 6 position. Blosser began her match strong, winning the first set, 6-4, but her opponent recovered and the sophomore ended up losing, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4.
Tachibana kept the Knights from sweeping singles play. She defeated her foe, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, at the No. 1 spot.
“Anything can happen on any given day, and it just didn’t go our way [on Sunday],” Norton said. “But after the match we figured out the differences that we could have made to come out with the win instead of a loss. We really identified the little things that we can improve before April when our Ivy matches come up.”