The Harvard women's tennis team reclaimed its position at the top of the Ivy League standings this season, finishing with a perfect 7-0 league record and a 14-9 mark overall. The Crimson beat Dartmouth, 7-0, in the final league match of the season to secure the Ivy crown--its first since 1992.
The year capped a bittersweet campaign for the netwomen, who came into the season looking to improve on their second-place finish in the 1994 season.
The team managed to cope with the departures of junior Crimson editor Jill Brenner--who had played first singles for the squad the previous season--and sophomore transfer Rona Mayer--who left the team before its Spring Break trip to California.
Fortunately for the Crimson, it received a youthful infusion of freshman talent to bolster the lineup.
At second singles, freshman Mylin Torres complied a 13-9 record overall and a 6-1 mark in the Ivy League. Torres also teamed up with sophomore Gina Majmudar at second doubles and went undefeated in Ivy League action.
Splitting her time at third and fourth singles, freshman Gabriela Hricko made her mark on the Ivy circuit, going undefeated at both positions. Her powerful serve also paid dividends at third doubles, where she and fellow freshman Julia Kim teamed up for an 11-6 record overall.
At the top of the line-up, sophomore Gina Majmudar had to make the difficult transition from second to first singles. Despite the added pressure, Majmudar managed to post a 4-3 record in the Ivy League, and was a force on the doubles side of the ledger.
The heart and soul of the Crimson this season, however, were its co-captains--juniors Kelly Granat Kate Roiter.
On the courts, the two were unstoppable. Grant went 7-0 in Ivy League matches, playing mainly at fifth singles. Roiter went 6-0 in Ivy League matches, with three wins apiece at third and fourth singles.
Off the court, the tandem provided ample leadership for the young squad, which featured no seniors.
With the entire squad returning next season, a repeat championship for the Crimson should be in the works. Harvard last won back-to-back league titles in the 1989 and 1990 campaigns.
However, with its talent, the Crimson could realistically set its sights on loftier goals--specifically some of the nationally ranked teams Harvard faces on its annual California trip.
This year the team went a disappointing 1-4 in California--losing to Northwestern, San Diego, UCLA and Fresno State. The Crimson's only win during the week-long trip was 5-4 decision over UC-Santa Barbara, which had been ranked above it in the national polls.
In its Ivy matches, the Crimson defeated all of its opponents by 6-1 or 7-0 scores, except for a 4-3 win over Penn early in the season.
Harvard also played non-league matches late in the season against its two toughest opponents in the NCAA East region--William and Mary and Syracuse. Although the squad lost both matches and finished third in the region. the Crimson will get another crack at the top two spots next year.
With a steady effort from its seasoned veterans and the arrival of some new freshman talent next fall, next year's squad could start making waves on the national scene.