Traveling halfway across the country for the ITA Kick-Off, the Harvard men’s tennis team split its matches on the weekend in Norman, Okla.
All four teams participating—the Crimson, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, and Memphis—were among the top 32 teams in the nation.
“Our weekend was terrific,” Harvard coach Dave Fish said. “We came out a little bit banged up, which is not anything a coach gets wildly excited about, but we competed really hard and had some really good performances.”
The No. 28 Crimson opened up against the No. 30 Fighting Irish (3-2), and rode consistent production in both singles and doubles to a 4-3 victory.
But despite the close win against an evenly matched opponent, Harvard ended its weekend on a sour note, falling to No. 8 Oklahoma without taking a match.
“Overall, it was really good play, but [the Sooners were] just better,” Fish said. “They deserve to go to the national indoor team championships two weeks from now in Washington.”
OKLAHOMA 4, HARVARD 0
After taking down Notre Dame the day prior, Harvard was easily beaten by Oklahoma, 4-0, Sunday afternoon.
“This team was definitely a cut higher than [the Fighting Irish],” Fish said. “It was fun—I was watching our guys grow in front of my eyes. They were getting some balls that we weren’t used to seeing, and we would get beaten the first time, and then the second time we’d adjust.”
The Sooners sealed their spot in the Round of 16 in the ITA Championships when Guillermo Alcorta posted a 6-4, 6-3 singles victory over sophomore Alex Steinroeder in the No. 2 match, giving Oklahoma the clinching fourth point to complete the shutout.
Already down by one after a forfeit due to injury, the Crimson lost another singles point when freshman Kelvin Lam lost in two straight sets, 2-6, 0-6.
“Kelvin played some tough people, so he was a little overmatched,” Fish said. “And [sophomore] Shaun Chaudhuri and Alex Steinroeder played one and two with [sophomore] Denis Nguyen out of the lineup, and they played great tennis.”
Chaudhuri and freshmen Nicky Hu and Conor Haughey began their singles matches but neither finished once the Sooners gained their fourth points to seal their victory.
In doubles play, the Oklahoma duo of Costin Paval and Dane Webb opened up the day with an 8-4 win over Chaudhuri and junior co-captain Casey MacMaster. Freshman Nicholas Mahlangu and Steinroeder also tasted defeat at the hands of Peerakit Siributwong and Leonard Stakhovsky, dropping the match, 8-5.
HARVARD 4, NOTRE DAME 3