In its last game of the season, the Harvard women's tennis team finally exhibited the potential it failed to tap for most of the year in a convincing 7-2 victory over Cornell last Saturday at the Beren Tennis Center.
In a disappointing season where the Crimson--a preseason favorite to win the Ivy League title--instead stumbled into Saturday's match with a record of 1-5, the stomping of the Big Red may have eased some of the frustrations that team members and coaches have experienced.
"We haven't played together this year, but we found a way to win, to put it together," Head Coach Gordon Graham said. "For us, that's the key this season."
Co-Captain Melissa McNabb, who kept up a scorching serve despite a persistent groin-pull injury, echo Graham's sentiments.
"It was a great win to end the year," McNabb said. "We haven't played this well all year long."
Against Cornell, McNabb and her partner freshman Kelly Granat led off a sweep of the doubles matches with a straight-act 6-4, 6-4 win punctuated with aggressive net-playing that made the Red opponents see more than Crimson.
Despite not playing as a doubles pair since spring break, McNabb and Granat quickly settled into their rhythm and found the right combination to put away their Cornell opponents.
The other two doubles teams also posted victories, but in closer matches. Co-Captain Eliza Parker and sophomore Agata Passent regained the momentum in the third set for a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 win and the newly-formed duo of freshman Erica Cheng and sophomore Kendra Harris provided tiebreaker suspense in a 7-6 (11-9), 6-3 victory.
The 3-0 doubles sweep was Harvard's first of the year.
"We played good doubles," Graham said. "A lot of poaching and good, aggressive doubles."
The momentum carried over into the singles competition, where Harvard was playing without freshman Katie Roiter (out with an injured rotator cuff) and McNabb (hampered by her groin pull).
Granat, Cheng, Passent, and junior Allegra Fitzgibbons all posted easy straight-set victories that sealed the Crimson's second Ivy League win.