Before returning home from its spring break trip to California, the Harvard women’s tennis team underwent one final tune-up Saturday afternoon.
Presumably playing in its last outdoor match for a few weeks, the No. 37 ranked Crimson (7-4) fell to Long Beach State (12-2) at the Rhodes Tennis Center, 4-3.
The match wrapped up a busy week for Harvard, in which the team took the court three times. Earlier on the trip, the Crimson split a pair of matches with Cal State Northridge (6-5) and San Diego State (6-9).
“Overall, I’m proud of the way the team competed this entire week,” Harvard coach Traci Green said. “We got a lot of tough matches in, and our goal was to improve every match, and we did that.”
On Saturday, looking to avoid losing consecutive matches for the first time all season, the Crimson did not get the start it was looking for.
In doubles play, the 49ers’ freshman pair of Maeva Razakasoa and Hayley Thompson got things started with a win on court two over June Lee and Hannah Morrill, 8-4. Then, Laura Eales and Ebba Unden managed to knock off the No. 63 ranked twosome of Spencer Liang and Monica Lin, earning the first point of the match for Long Beach State.
“Spencer and Monica are a dynamic duo,” Green said. “When they’re on, they’re very tough to beat. They were grinding today—[really] all three days—but today just didn’t go their way.”
Harvard did have some success at the third doubles position, where Amanda Lin and Amy He led Karolina Rozenberg and Holly Reid, 5-3. But the sophomore duo did not get a chance to finish its match since the 49ers had already locked up the point.
LBSU carried its momentum right into singles play. On court five, Thompson added onto her team’s lead, earning a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Morrill. Next, Julie Gerard defeated Lee, 6-2, 6-2, at the third singles position, putting the Crimson in a large hole.
Nonetheless, with its back against the wall, Harvard came crawling back. At the sixth singles position, Amanda Lin got the Crimson on the board, notching a 6-2, 6-1 win over Reid, prompting flashbacks to the team’s come-from-behind victory over Clemson back in February.
But this time, history would not repeat itself. The 49ers sealed the contest on Court Four, where Rozenberg defeated He, 7-5, 6-2, giving Long Beach State its third win of the week.
But even with the outcome of the match already having been determined, Harvard continued to fight. After falling as a doubles pair, Liang and Monica Lin made sure not to experience the same fate in singles play.
Court one featured a matchup between two of the game’s top freshmen—the Crimson’s Liang, who is ranked No. 107 in the nation, and the 49ers’ Razakasoa, who entered the match with an 11-1 record on the year. In what proved to be the longest match of the afternoon, Liang outlasted her opponent and came out on top, 6-3, 7-6(5).
One court over, Monica Lin also came up with a win for Harvard. Matched up against Unden, the Crimson freshman won a first set tiebreak before going on to win, 7-6 (4), 6-4. The victory for Monica Lin extends her unbeaten streak at the second singles position to eight games.
Despite the loss Saturday and the team’s 1-2 record over the course of the trip, Green said she was pleased with the effort her team put forth in the Golden State.
“Our team was trying to change from indoor to outdoor tennis, and we got a lot of tough matches in,” Green said. “Each person competed hard, and that’s what we wanted to get out of this trip, so overall, it was a successful trip. We didn’t get as many W’s as we would like, but overall, it definitely got us one step closer to being prepared for Ivy [League play].”
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