In its final matches before its annual spring break trip, the Harvard men’s tennis team was in top form, besting Michigan State, 5-2, and downing Bryant, 6-1, on Saturday at the Murr Center.
The No. 33 Crimson (8-4) has now won four of its last five matches, all at home. It was a rare easy weekend for the squad after having played tightly contested matches against ranked competition for much of the spring season.
“Getting two wins feels pretty good overall,” junior co-captain Alex Steinroeder said. “It was nice to get a doubles point for the first time in a few matches, but there are still lots of things we can work on. We didn’t feel everyone played his best, but overall [we] are happy to get those wins going into spring break.”
HARVARD 6, BRYANT 1
In the night match, Harvard rested most of its starters but still handily defeated the Bulldogs (9-7).
“Playing two matches in a day is tough because it’s hard to come back with enough energy,” Steinroeder said. “But it helps that we have so many guys to put in the lineup, and everyone played quite well.”
The Crimson reversed its recent struggles in capturing the doubles point on Saturday. Against Bryant, the usual No. 1 tandem of co-captain Casey MacMaster and junior Denis Nguyen did not play, but junior Christo Schultz and freshman Sebastian Beltrame ably took over the top slot, posting an 8-1 victory.
Sophomore Kelvin Lam and Steinroeder then delivered Harvard the doubles point with an 8-3 win at No. 3.
From there, the Crimson cruised in singles, with four of its five wins coming in two sets. Junior Shaun Chaudhuri took over Nguyen’s top spot for the night and nabbed a 6-2, 6-1 victory. Sophomore Nicky Hu was even better on the second court, nearly blanking his opponent and posting a 6-0, 6-1 mark.
Classmate Conor Haughey officially clinched the match for Harvard with a 6-0, 6-2 victory on the sixth court. MacMaster, who normally does not play singles, won in straight sets on court five, and junior Henry Steer won in three at No. 4.
“We’re learning in every match,” Harvard coach Dave Fish said. “The freshmen are coming along great, and the upperclassmen know their energy. As [junior Denis Nguyen] said, we need to bring the same energy to every match, and not get up for one opponent and underestimate another. Playing matches like this are a mental exercise.”
HARVARD 5, MICHIGAN STATE 2
In the early match, the Crimson denied Michigan State (5-7) its first road victory of the year.
The doubles teams were on point against the Spartans, as each pair came through in tight matchups. Nguyen and MacMaster took an 8-6 win, Hu and freshman Brian Yeung matched their score. Schultz and Beltrame then came through, 8-7, to finish off the sweep.
“It’s very encouraging for us to actually win three doubles matches,” Fish said. “We have played some really good doubles, but hadn’t quite clicked. We were able to take all three on Saturday.”