The Harvard women's tennis team is good.
Led by freshman star Erika deLone, the team came within a game of winning both the singles and the doubles brackets of the ITCA Northeastern Individual Championships, held in Philadelphia over the weekend.
Second-seeded DeLone won the singles brackets handily, and the Harvard doubles team of deLone and junior Erika Elmuts lost in the finals to the top-seeded Boston College team of Jennifer Lane and Pam Piorkowski, 2-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-5.
Against the B.C. duo, Harvard was up 5-3 in the final set and deLone had a chance to serve for the match. But, for the first time all day, deLone's serve was broken, and Lane and Piorkowski went on to win the set and the match.
"It's hard to keep the intensity up for so long," deLone said. "There's a lot of momentum in doubles, more so than in singles, and they got the momentum and ran with it."
DeLone's performance in the singles brackets, though, was a case of uninterrupted momentum.
"I was very happy with the singles tournament," deLone said. "It was a big accomplishment for me. I don't think I had ever played so many matches in such short a time frame."
It was the sheer number of matches, in the end, that brought deLone and Elmuts down.
"By the time we played the doubles finals, I had been on the court for eight hours," deLone said. "I was really tired, and it affected my play."
But Harvard's strong showing is cause for celebration, not lament, over could-have-beens.
In the singles brackets, Harvard placed four players in the 64-player field, a very impressive showing for such a young team. DeLone, Samantha Ettus, Elmuts and Rachel Pollack were all invited to compete. Pollack, unfortunately, was forced to withdraw due to an injured shoulder.
"I think it shows that we're back to the level we played in the mid-80s, when we were a top-20 team," manager Michael J. Lartigue said.
The team might have placed five players in the tournament, but regular number-two player Melissa McNabb has not competed this season because of a knee injury she suffered earlier this year.