Over the weekend, the Harvard women’s tennis team came away from the ECAC Championship tournament with two losses against Princeton and Penn on Friday and Saturday before picking up a win against rival Yale to cap off the weekend. The tournament took place in Princeton, N.J., and the Crimson finished the weekend in seventh place out of eight participating teams.
Juniors Isabel Jasper and Erica Oosterhout were standout performers on a weekend in which Harvard got a taste of some of its Ivy League foes. In the last match of the weekend against rival Yale, Jasper came away with a fifth singles win and a 6-2 win in third doubles with freshman Neha Gupta. Jasper and Gupta also sealed the doubles point in the match against Penn on the second day of the tournament. Oosterhout picked up an important singles win against Penn on Saturday.
“I think the support of the team has really allowed me to do well in singles this year,” Oosterhout said. “We have a great group of girls on this team and the encouragement from the team while I’m playing helps me stay fired up.”
Throughout the tournament, the Crimson was particularly strong in its doubles. All weekend, the Crimson saw a lot of its success in doubles play. Harvard was able to pick up the doubles point against both Yale and Penn.
“As a team we have really been focusing on our doubles play,” Oosterhout said. “We have made it a point to try and come out of the gates strong and have high energy in the doubles matches. I think all of the doubles teams have improved significantly since the fall.”
HARVARD 4, YALE 1
During the last match of the tournament, Harvard came out with its first victory. Oosterhout and sophomore Natasha Gonzalez started off the match with a win against the Bulldogs’ Caroline Amos and Sunday Swett in second doubles, 6-1. The Crimson’s third doubles team of Gupta and Jasper won, 6-2, solidifying Harvard’s doubles point.
The Crimson was also solid in its singles performance during the match against Yale. Freshman Anna Li defeated Swett in fifth singles, 6-2, 6-3, and Jasper topped freshman Sarah Cameron, 6-3, 6-4, in sixth singles. Gonzalez solidified the win for the Crimson by beating the Bulldogs’ Elizabeth Zordani, 7-6, 6-4, in third singles. Oosterhout was also leading her match against Valerie Shklover, 7-5, 6-5, when Harvard was declared the winner.
“Our Penn match we competed really well. We showed excelled composure throughout the match,” Green said. “The result just came down to a few points at the end. As far as execution is concerned we just didn’t execute the way we wanted to. We improved the next match against Yale and we were able to close out big points when we needed to.”
PENN 4, HARVARD 3
During the second day of the tournament, Harvard was edged out in a back-and-forth match. Oosterhout and Gonzalez won their match against the Quakers’ Jimena Rodriguez-Benito and OJ Singh in second doubles. Gupta and Jasper solidified the doubles point by defeating Penn’s Marta Kowalska and Maija Curnic.
The top of the Crimson’s singles lineup was dominant against Penn on Saturday. Oosterhout and captain Annika Ringblom each won their singles matches. Oosterhout beat senior Lina Qostal in two sets, 7-5, 6-1, and Ringblom won in two sets, 6-4, 6-0, over Penn’s Jimena Rodriguez-Benito. At the bottom of the singles lineup, though, the Quakers earned four straight wins to secure the victory.
PRINCETON 4, HARVARD 0
The top-seeded Tigers opened the weekend with a sweep on their home courts. The doubles team of Oosterhout and Gonzalez had a strong showing against Clare McKee and Katrine Steffinson of Princeton, but the Tigers managed to claim victories in first and third doubles to secure the all-important doubles point
The Tigers proved to be just as tough in singles Princeton’s Stephanie Schrage and Tiffany Chen defeated Crimson sophomore Irene Lu and freshman Anna Li, respectively. Gupta fell to the Tigers’ Gaby Pollner in fifth singles to solidify Princeton’s win.
“Some of our team goals ride around competing at our highest level by the end of the season and also learning to control all the things that are in our control,” Green said. “If we do those two things well we know we have a shot and reaching our potential.”
Gonzalez defeated Princeton’s McKee and Ringblom won her match against Nicole Kalhoun, but it was not enough.
Even though the Crimson only won one of the three matches this weekend, there is still plenty of time for the team to improve before the time that Ivy matches start in March. Looking ahead, the the team’s goals include getting better one week at a time.
“We have a lot of time between now and [Ivies],” Green said. “Our main focus is just to take it one match at a time so I’m not really looking at the lineup that far in advance. We just want to get a good week of rest and practice in and get ready for our next opponent and that is BC.”
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