The Crimson (10-6, 2-2 Ivy) lost to Princeton, 5-2, and beat Penn, 4-3, to split their matches on the weekend and stay at .500 in the Ivy League as the season comes to a close.
Harvard struggled in the doubles matches, usually a team strength, as the team dropped the doubles point to both the Tigers and the Quakers. While the Crimson could not come back against No. 69th Princeton, the Crimson fought back against the Quakers to take home the win on Sunday.
“We lost to Princeton, but we were able to end on a high note with a win over Penn,” freshman Spencer Liang said. “I think even though we had some tough matches in there everyone fought really hard, and that’s how we won today.”
HARVARD 4, PENN 3
With the match tied at 3-all, it was up to senior captain Hannah Morrill to clinch the victory for Harvard at Penn’s Hamlin Tennis Center. Morrill rose to the challenge and rallied in the third set to take down Quaker freshman Luba Vazhenina and win the match for the Crimson in a thrilling 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 decision at fifth singles.
“It was really suspenseful and made all of us pretty nervous, honestly,” freshman June Lee said. “She was up in the tiebreaker at first, but the other girl came back and tied it up, and it was a one point difference for a while. We just kept encouraging her on the sidelines, and she pulled it out.”
Morrill’s win followed an equally gritty comeback by her teammates, who battled back after a doubles point loss and Liang’s defeat at first singles put Harvard in a 2-0 hole early in the match. A win from Amanda Lin and Amy He at third doubles gave the Crimson the initial advantage but was followed by two quick defeats at the hands of the Quakers as Penn earned the doubles point.
The Harvard women rallied in the singles matches, coming out on top of several close matches to give Harvard the 4-3 win. He gave the Crimson its first win on the day with her 6-4, 6-4 win at fourth singles, while Lee earned a win of her own at the third position with an exciting 7-6, 7-5 defeat of Penn’s Sonya Latycheva.
“I was actually down the whole time in that match,” Lee said. “I was down 0-3, and then I was down 1-4 in the first set, and I came back and won 7-6, and then in the second set I was down 2-4 and I came back and won 7-5….At first I was a little bit flustered, and wasn’t sure how to play [Latycheva]. But I knew that my team needed me, and I just tried whatever I could to stay in the match and keep it going as long as possible.”
Sophomore Monica Lin continued to bounce back from her four-game losing streak, as she beat Kana Daniel in three sets at second singles and gave Harvard the 3-2 edge. After Lin was taken down in three sets, Morrill came out on top and grabbed the victory for the Crimson.
PRINCETON 5, HARVARD 2
On the first Ivy road trip of the season, 46th-ranked Harvard was bested by 69th-ranked Princeton. The Tigers started off strong, sweeping two doubles matches, to take the early lead and never looked back as they grabbed a 5-2 win off the Crimson.
Harvard’s two wins came from Monica Lin and her classmate He, who collected points at second and fourth singles, respectively. Lin broke a four-game losing streak to earn a 6-4, 6-4 win while He downed Caroline Joyce 6-0, 6-2.
Morrill was the only member of the Crimson to take her match to three sets, but was unable to outlast Princeton’s Katie Goepel at the fifth position. Amanda Lin finished off the match for the Crimson, dropping a 6-1, 6-3 decision at sixth singles to give Princeton the 5-2 victory.
“We wanted to learn from what happened against Princeton,” Lee said. “We reflected on what we could have done better, what we did well, and what we could improve on when we played Penn. We just knew that we had to have a positive attitude and couldn’t be down because of the loss to Princeton; we kept reminding each other just to keep fighting.”
—Staff writer Glynis K. Healey can be reached at email@example.com.