Harvard Rookies Shine in Women's Tennis Season Debut

In its first competition of the 2012-13 season, the Harvard women’s tennis team saw promising performances from a number of its newest members.

Rookies Amanda Lin and Crystal Yen, competing in their first collegiate contests, took first place in the C and D flights, respectively, at the Columbia Invitational in New York over the weekend.

“Now they have at least one tournament under their belt, so that they can have some experience and understand what it’s like at this level,” said co-captain Hideko Tachibana, who, along with fellow co-captain Kristin Norton, fell in the finals of the doubles A Flight . “Next time around, it’ll be easier for them, and it can only go uphill from here.”

After notching a pair of early wins to advance to the finals, Tachibana and Norton met Columbia’s Tiana Takenaga and Bianca Sanon, falling, 8-6.

“We held up well but just came up a bit short,” Tachibana said. “We put a really big front out there.... This loss will make us work harder,  and now we can figure out what we need to do to be more successful.”

Lin and Yen had more success, as each went undefeated at the Invitational. In the C Flight, it was Crimson versus Crimson in the final, as Lin took on sophomore Sylvia Li.

The competition between teammates yielded a very close match that ultimately resulted in a Lin victory, 6-4, 7-5.

Yen also came out on top, notching a 6-3, 6-2 win over Columbia’s Tiana Takenaga in the singles D Flight.

“We did a really great job this weekend,” coach Traci Green said. “We competed well, and we can only keep getting better and better. Our goal coming into the invitational was to advance to the next level of the matches and feel accomplished.”

The Invitational featured players from the Crimson, St. John’s, Binghamton, Fairfield, UMass, Penn, and Columbia and consisted of four separate singles brackets and two doubles brackets.

Aside from Lin and Yen, freshman Amy He and junior Natalie Blosser made it to singles quarterfinals in bracket B.

“We all came back from the summer and worked hard for the past two weeks trying to get into shape as a whole,” said Blosser, who fell to Columbia’s Kanika Vaidya. “We worked on fitness and stressed incorporating the new freshmen. After being away for the entire summer, our core objective was to get the team unity back together. We still have lots of work to do, though. Columbia showed strongly this weekend, so we need to sharpen our game a bit.”

In the singles A Flight, Norton reached the semifinals where she fell to Columbia’s Nicole Bartnik.

Tachibana was eliminated in the quarterfinals by UMass’s Yuliana Motyl.

With the start of the Ivy League competition a few weeks away, the Crimson’s performance was crucial as a means of preparing for the coming season.

“I’m excited for the fall season,” Green said. “I saw lots of good things out on the court and we will get better together because there’s a lot of heart on our team.”

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