News

Undergraduates Celebrate Second Consecutive Virtual Housing Day

News

Dean of Students Office Discusses Housing Day, Anti-Racism Goals

News

Renowned Cardiologist and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Bernard Lown Dies at 99

News

Native American Nonprofit Accuses Harvard of Violating Federal Graves Protection and Repatriation Act

News

U.S. Reps Assess Biden’s Progress on Immigration at HKS Event

Netwomen Set to Take Ivies

Elite First-Years Highlight Deep Singles, Doubles Lineups

By Daniel L. Jacobowitz

It is the dawning of Erika's era in the land of Harvard women's tennis.

Bolstered by the additions of Grand Slam-experienced Erika deLone--who is widely regarded as college tennis's top recruit--and five more strong newcomers to an already solid squad, the Crimson looks to crack the top-20 rankings this season.

But for the time being, Coach Gordon Graham is thinking locally.

"I think we will have a chance to be ranked," Graham said, "but it is hard to say what it takes to make the rankings, so we don't have much control over that. We want to get the Ivy championship back, and I think we have a chance to win the East and go to nationals."

The Matchups

The fall season will provide Harvard several key opportunities to exhibit its talents.

The Crimson's toughest test of the fall should come at the Harvard Invitational, which runs Sept. 20-22, when Harvard competes against Oklahoma State, Texas Christian and Illinois, all of which have been top-20 teams in past years.

Victories against any of the three squads will lift the Crimson into the Volvo/ITCA computer rankings.

The Harvard Invitational will be deLone's first team tournament in college. While she never played for her high school team because of an "inflexible coach" that would not allow her to miss practice to play the pro circuit, according to deLone, she has played team tennis previously for the U.S. Junior Davis Cup team. WOMEN'S TENNIS Sept. 20-22  HARVARD INVIT. (Oklahoma State, TCU, illinois)  TBA Sept. 27-29  at ITCA National Clay Court Championships (at Panama City, Florida)  TBA Oct. 19-20  ITCA Regional Team Championships (Site TBA)  TBA Oct. 24-27  at All-American Championships (at Pacific Palisades, CA)  TBA Nov. 1-3  at ITCA Regional Indiv. Championships (at U. of Pennsylvania)  TBA

"I'm very excited to play the Harvard Invitational," deLone said. "It will be our first real test as a team."

"It's a great way to open the season," Graham added. "Oklahoma State has some good foreign players. Texas Christian should be tough, and Illinois can compete really well."

The ITCA team qualifier, which runs Oct. 5-6 at Yale, will be Harvard's chance to prove itself as a top team in the Eastern region. Eight colleges will fight for two berths to the Eastern regional semifinals in the weekend tourney.

The two semifinalists, of which Harvard and Yale are favorites, will meet the two semifinalists from the other ITCA team qualifier, which probably will be William & Mary and Brown.

"The ITCA team qualifier has a little more significance than the Harvard Invitational," Graham said. "We have a chance to advance to the National Indoors in Wisconsin, and that is certainly within our scope. The tournament should help our kids develop into nationally competitive players."

And finally, the Individual Championships, which run from Nov. 1-3, will give Crimson players a chance to establish themselves in the national rankings. The nation's top players will compete at this tournament.

The ITCA National Clay Court Championships in Panama City, Fla. in late September and the All-American Championships in Pacific Palisades, Cal. in late October are two additional tournaments for individual Crimson standouts.

Young and Experienced

While Graham said that the nucleus of this year's squad will consist of "non-freshmen", several freshmen should be key players in the singles and doubles lineup.

Although there are no seniors in the fall lineup, Co-Captain Melinda Wang refutes the idea that Harvard is an inexperienced team.

"Although we have a young team, we have a lot of experience," Wang said. "Melissa [Mc-Nabb] and Sam [Ettus] played so much last year that they should have matches under their belts. Erika [Elmuts], Rachel [Pollock] and I have played two years already. Erika deLone definitely has match experience and has had pressure on her before."

DeLone (please refer to feature story on page C-1), the 109th-rated player in the world, will play at number-one, and will be among the nation's best number-ones at that. In fact, college play should be a level down for deLone, who regularly has played the likes of Steffi Graf, Monica Seles and Jennifer Capriati during her not-for-profit tenure on the pro circuit this past year.

The second through sixth positions will be up for grabs, and will be dependent on the results of intrasquad challenge matches.

Graham said that he expects "big things" from sophomore Melissa McNabb, who was one of Harvard's top recruits two years ago. Look for McNabb in the upper half of the lineup.

Classmate Sam Ettus--who last year was the first player to win 20 games in a season since Jamie Henikoff '91 did so in 1988--also looks to be playing in a high position.

Graham said that he will be looking for "leadership from the returnees", namely the junior trio of Co-Captains Melinda Wang and Rachel Pollock and Erika Elmuts. The three have rotated positions four through eight in the past, and will be the senior members of the Crimson this year.

Newcomer Cisca Mok, an Oregoner who was ranked 27th in the under-16 girls rankings, will also challenge for a spot. Graham describes her as a "solid, back-court, aggressive baseliner." Mok won the Oregon state high school singles title four years in a row.

Classmate Katie Hatch, a lanky left-hander from Billings, Montana, comes to Harvard with experience from European tournaments. Graham said he expects Hatch "to be a kid who will develop a lot."

Fellow freshman Agatha Passent, the sixth-rated player in Poland, is a "solid doubles player" who plays "a good all-court game," Graham said.

Kendra Harris--a top-20 player in under-16 competition in Southern California--and Karen Todd--a local standout at Buckingham, Browne and Nichols School--will also compete for a spot on the varsity squad

"I'm very excited to play the Harvard Invitational," deLone said. "It will be our first real test as a team."

"It's a great way to open the season," Graham added. "Oklahoma State has some good foreign players. Texas Christian should be tough, and Illinois can compete really well."

The ITCA team qualifier, which runs Oct. 5-6 at Yale, will be Harvard's chance to prove itself as a top team in the Eastern region. Eight colleges will fight for two berths to the Eastern regional semifinals in the weekend tourney.

The two semifinalists, of which Harvard and Yale are favorites, will meet the two semifinalists from the other ITCA team qualifier, which probably will be William & Mary and Brown.

"The ITCA team qualifier has a little more significance than the Harvard Invitational," Graham said. "We have a chance to advance to the National Indoors in Wisconsin, and that is certainly within our scope. The tournament should help our kids develop into nationally competitive players."

And finally, the Individual Championships, which run from Nov. 1-3, will give Crimson players a chance to establish themselves in the national rankings. The nation's top players will compete at this tournament.

The ITCA National Clay Court Championships in Panama City, Fla. in late September and the All-American Championships in Pacific Palisades, Cal. in late October are two additional tournaments for individual Crimson standouts.

Young and Experienced

While Graham said that the nucleus of this year's squad will consist of "non-freshmen", several freshmen should be key players in the singles and doubles lineup.

Although there are no seniors in the fall lineup, Co-Captain Melinda Wang refutes the idea that Harvard is an inexperienced team.

"Although we have a young team, we have a lot of experience," Wang said. "Melissa [Mc-Nabb] and Sam [Ettus] played so much last year that they should have matches under their belts. Erika [Elmuts], Rachel [Pollock] and I have played two years already. Erika deLone definitely has match experience and has had pressure on her before."

DeLone (please refer to feature story on page C-1), the 109th-rated player in the world, will play at number-one, and will be among the nation's best number-ones at that. In fact, college play should be a level down for deLone, who regularly has played the likes of Steffi Graf, Monica Seles and Jennifer Capriati during her not-for-profit tenure on the pro circuit this past year.

The second through sixth positions will be up for grabs, and will be dependent on the results of intrasquad challenge matches.

Graham said that he expects "big things" from sophomore Melissa McNabb, who was one of Harvard's top recruits two years ago. Look for McNabb in the upper half of the lineup.

Classmate Sam Ettus--who last year was the first player to win 20 games in a season since Jamie Henikoff '91 did so in 1988--also looks to be playing in a high position.

Graham said that he will be looking for "leadership from the returnees", namely the junior trio of Co-Captains Melinda Wang and Rachel Pollock and Erika Elmuts. The three have rotated positions four through eight in the past, and will be the senior members of the Crimson this year.

Newcomer Cisca Mok, an Oregoner who was ranked 27th in the under-16 girls rankings, will also challenge for a spot. Graham describes her as a "solid, back-court, aggressive baseliner." Mok won the Oregon state high school singles title four years in a row.

Classmate Katie Hatch, a lanky left-hander from Billings, Montana, comes to Harvard with experience from European tournaments. Graham said he expects Hatch "to be a kid who will develop a lot."

Fellow freshman Agatha Passent, the sixth-rated player in Poland, is a "solid doubles player" who plays "a good all-court game," Graham said.

Kendra Harris--a top-20 player in under-16 competition in Southern California--and Karen Todd--a local standout at Buckingham, Browne and Nichols School--will also compete for a spot on the varsity squad

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.

Tags