For the Harvard men's tennis team, the regular season matches which resemble pre-game warmup, are just about coming to an end Bigger and better things are right around the corner.
This weekend, the netmen were forced to interrupt their reading period activities to toy with two Eastern Intercollegiate Tennis Association (EITA) opponents. Army and Cornell, in preparation for the Crimson's May 15 participation in the NCAA Nationals competition.
Both the Cadets and the Big Red floated into town--on Friday and Saturday afternoon, respectively--and both were subsequently blown away by the score of 8-1.
Harvard's two-for-two weekend mathematically eliminated all of its competition from the quest for the EITA crown. This marks the second successive year in which the Crimson has garnered the title.
The Crimson's strength is illustrated by the fact that, according to Coach Dave Fish, it didn't play close to its best tennis of the year over the weekend. Fish said that in singles competition. Harvard displayed some weaknesses. Nevertheless, the netmen's talent and domineering court presence allowed them to easily manhandle their opponents.
On Friday, the only Harvard casualty to fall to Army was second-seeded junior Warren Grossman, 6-3, 1-6, 6-4. All other singles and doubles matches saw the Crimson take straight-set victories.
The story on Saturday didn't turn out to be that much different as all the Crimson netmen, barring junior Captain Adam Beren, took the color out of the Big Red.
Cornell--a team with an overall record of 14-5 (4-5 in the EITA)--posed the greatest threat to Harvard during doubles competition. Both the Grossman-Alex Seaver and the Rob Wheeler-Dave Beckman duos were pushed to three sets by their Big Red rivals.
Third-seeded Grossman and Seaver won with some breathing space, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, but Cornell's Jeff Charloff-Brad Rosenstein combination took its match to the outer limits as Beckman and Wheeler squeaked by on superb volleying efforts in a third-set tiebreaker, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6.
Fish didn't throw all of Harvard's fire power at its opponents this weekend, as he let junior All-American Howard Sands, and Beckman take to the stands during singles competition. Instead, freshmen Greg Tebbe and Ken Kleinfeld--two players who have been performing quite well on Harvard's "B" team, according to Fish--occupied the sixth slots against Army and Cornell, respectively.
Harvard's eighth straight triumph puts its season mark at a perfect 8-0 in the EITA, 15-7 overall. The only EITA teams which have actually challenged the Crimson are Yale and Princeton In both of those matches. Harvard fell behind during singles competition, but rebounded to sweep all three doubles matches for the victories.
As Harvard prepares itself for the Nationals in Athens, Georgia, it should be quite confident about the caliber of its doubles combinations. The Crimson has not had a two-man team bow to its opponent since April 10 against Clemson. In addition when taking on EITA squads the netmen have not lost one doubles match throughout the entire campaign.
Harvard leves for Georgia Wednesday, after Dartmouth tourney, the last team if season test for the netmen. On Thursday, the Crimson will practice against Duke for Saturday opening round.