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A return to gray and rainy Cambridge is about as appealing as a Harvard Dining Services meal--especially if you are a member of the Harvard men's tennis team.
The California-tanned Crimson hated to leave the sunshine, despite a mediocre West-Coast showing. Harvard, ranked 19th nationally, failed to repeat as champion of the University of California-Irvine Anteater Classic, finishing fifth. Long Beach State stunned the second-seeded Crimson in a quarterfinal match, nipping heavily-favored Harvard, 5-4. Top-seed and second-ranked USC won the tourney.
"We didn't impress anyone," Harvard's Michael Shyjan said. "We expected to have a better showing."
In light of the discouraging turn of events leading up to the UCI tournament, the Crimson should have adjusted its expectations. For starters, Harvard's opening days in California were dampened by weather that resembled that of Cambridge. As a result, the Crimson's dual-match with San Diego was rained out.
When sunshine finally arrived on Tuesday, Harvard squared off against a gritty Northwestern team, and the Crimson narrowly escaped with a 5-4 victory.
"We went into the Anteater tourney a little shaken and distracted," Harvard junior John Tolmie said. "We weren't ready to play our best tennis."
The Crimson routed its first opponent, Wichita State, 6-0, before falling to Long Beach State. In the consolation rounds, Harvard topped Southeast Louisiana (6-3) and Wisconsin (5-4) to earn fifth place.
NOTEBOOK: Harvard has next week off before Ivy League competition begins. The Crimson meets Columbia at home on April 12 and hosts the Pennsylvania Quakers on the 13th.
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