AMHERST, Mass.--The Harvard women's tennis team travelled to Amherst this weekend hoping for a New England title and returned with mixed results.
First the bad news. The racquetwomen lost in their bid to capture the New England team championship, falling short of champion Dartmouth by one and one half points.
Now the good news. Freshman Tiina Bougas won the singles championship, establishing her as the region's premier player.
On the Trail
Going into Sunday's final round of matches, Harvard trailed the Greenies narrowly. Although Harvard had only three players active Sunday, the title remained within reach. With Bougas alive in the singles, and Martha Roberts and Debbie Kalish (upset Saturday by Brown) vying for the consolation title they would eventually win, the Crimson still had a chance of grabbing the title.
A Harvard victory depended, ironically, on a Dartmouth loss to the same Brown doubles team which defeated Roberts and Kalish, an event which did not materialize. Thus the racqueteers settled for second, losing by a heartbreaking, 37 1/2-36 tally.
Despite falling short, the squad played to Felske's expectations, as "everybody performed as well as they were supposed to."
After blazing through three rounds on Friday, the second doubles team of Kris Mertz and Abby Meiselman fell to the eventual champs, Dartmouth, in two hotly contested sets, 5-7, 5-7. Due to an oversight of the rules committee, Mertz and Meiselman were placed in the same losers bracket as Roberts and Kalish.
Falling to their teammates in a match protested by Felske, Mertz and Meiselman were eliminated from the tournament.
By setting the two Harvard squads against each other, thus automatically eliminating one of them, the committee denied the Crimson an opportunity to garner additional points in the consolation bracket.
"The tournament director apologized for not having the foresight to see the problem he created," Felske said. Nevertheless the coach's protest was dismissed.
So the weekend, in short, was both Bougas and bogus.
After dumping Meiselman and Mertz, Roberts and Kalish breezed through their last two rounds to take the consolation title, knocking out UConn, 6-0, 6-1, and Providence, 6-2, 6-4.
But the afternoon belonged to Tiina Bougas, as the GBC and Mass State champ completed her triple crown bid, taking the New England title in a beautifully executed one and love drubbing of Curry College's Robin Schreider.
"I really wanted this one," Bougas said. "This was the toughest competition I've played against all year though the scores didn't reflect it."
The truth is that Bougas was never seriously challenged in the tournament, losing only eleven games in eight matches. Bougas has yet to lose a set this season.
Last fall, Crimson racquetwoman Betsy Richmond copped the New England title. Richmond is now on leave.
After defeating Pam Bankdlyer in yesterday's semifinals, Bougas' deft ground strokes totally, dismantled the third-seeded Schreider in the finals. Bougas continually moved her opponent from sideline to sideline with her uncannily accurate, net-skimming volleys setting up her passing shots.
After the match, Felske presented Bougas with the traditional October victory pumpkin, along with her New England Championship cup. Asked to comment on the day's events, Bougas simply replied, "I like my pumpkin."
Tiina Bougas defeated: Bridget McCarthy, Colby, 6-1, 6-0, first round; Barbara Mills, UMass, 6-2, 6-1, second round; Debbie O'Halloran, BU, 6-2, 6-0, third round; Marcia Barker, UVM, 6-0, 6-3, quarterfinals; Pam Bankdlyer, Dartmouth, 6-1, 6-0, semifinals; Robin Schreider, Curry, 6-1, 6-0, finals: