In the world of men's collegiate tennis, if you want to play the best teams in the country, getting out of the northeast is a good idea.
The Harvard men's tennis team, ranked 25th in the nation, did just that last weekend travelling deep into the heart of Texas to compete in the Corpus Christi Invitational tournament.
Sunday, the Crimson advanced to the finals of the tournament with a gut-wrenching 4-3 win over Texas A&M, which also came in ranked 25th. The finals--which were held on Monday--saw a reversal of fortune, however, with 8th-ranked Texas Christian narrowly defeating the netmen, 4-3.
In the finals, the Crimson split the singles matches but were swept in the three doubles matches, giving the Horned Toads the doubles point, and the win.
"It came down to doubles," coach Dave Fish said. "They have the number-one and number-four doubles teams in the country, and they were better than us."
Until the doubles matches, the Crimson players were matching point for point against their Texas Christian opponents.
At second singles, freshman Philip Tseng continued his strong season with a straight-set win. Sophomore Mitty Arnold also won in two sets at third singles, giving him a 4-0 record in singles over the weekend.
Junior Todd Meringoff notched an impressive victory at fourth singles, winning the final two sets after losing the first in a tie-breaker. Meringoff, who had been hampered earlier this season with a groin injury, went 3-0 on the weekend in singles action.
"Todd is getting back to his top tennis," captain Andrew Rueb said.
"I feel I'm in great physical form," Meringoff said. "I just have to stay focused when things aren't going my way."
The Crimson had its best shot to win another singles match at first singles, where Rueb faced off against Texas Christian's Paul Robinson--who is ranked in the top-10 individually.
Rueb and Robinson split the first two sets, with Rueb winning the first, but Robinson put the match away with a 6-4 win in the final set.
"Andrew's knees were getting sorer as the match went on," Fish said. "That really hampered him and his opponent was a great player."
Despite the narrow loss, the netmen were upbeat about their weekend performances.
"This was a terrific trip for us," Fish said. "Our hard work's been paying off and the guys really handled the pressure well. The whole team really showed potential."