In its spring season home opener, the Harvard men’s tennis team squared off against top-30 national competition along with local rival Boston University, and the team finished its weekend with a 2-1 mark.
The No. 24 Crimson (6-4) displayed poise in finishing off a 4-3 win against No. 29 Northwestern (10-4) and dominance in a 6-1 margin over the Terriers (4-5), while falling just short against No. 22 Memphis (5-2).
“I think we did pretty well this weekend,” junior co-captain Alex Steinroeder said. “We were hoping to take all three [matches] but came up a little short. But given the competition level, everyone did a great job.”
HARVARD 6, BOSTON UNIVERSITY 1
On Sunday night, Harvard wrapped up its weekend of play with a dominant win over a crosstown foe. The Crimson has traditionally faced the Terriers in an early-season contest, and Harvard’s 6-1 victory marked the third straight season it has bested BU by the score.
In its third match of the weekend and second of the day, the Crimson worked some non-regulars into the lineup but still managed to easily outpace the Terriers.
Despite playing with different pairs, Harvard captured the doubles point with wins on the second and third courts. Co-captain Casey MacMaster, who normally plays at No. 1 doubles with junior Denis Nguyen, teamed with fellow senior Brendan Seaver to capture an 8-4 win.
In singles, normal No. 2 junior Shaun Chaudhuri slid up to the first slot and cruised to a 6-0, 6-1 win. The Crimson captured three other straight-set wins at the second, third, and fifth positions to clinch the victory. Only sophomore Kelvin Lam’s 0-6, 6-4, 1-0 loss at No. 3 prevented a Harvard shutout and gave BU its first point of the season against a ranked squad.
According to Harvard coach Dave Fish, that the Crimson succeeded without playing its starting lineup is a testament to the team’s depth.
“The guys [who aren’t regulars] are great players,” Fish said. “It’s nice for our guys to know that they could play on other varsity teams. We have an embarrassment of riches.”
MEMPHIS 4, HARVARD 3
The Crimson failed to pick up its second win of the weekend against a ranked opponent in Sunday’s early tilt, falling just short in a 4-3 loss.
Harvard’s uncharacteristic struggles in doubles continued on Sunday, as freshman Sebastian Beltrame and junior Christo Schultz picked up the lone victory on the third court, 8-6, as the Tigers captured the doubles point.
MacMaster and Nguyen, ranked 14th nationally, fell just shy in a showdown with No. 8 David O’Hare and Joe Salisbury, as the Crimson’s top pair lost in a tiebreak, 8-7.
“It’s tough to come back from [losing the doubles point] twice in a row,” Steinroeder said. “We know we can still win these doubles points, but things aren’t falling into place yet.”