After serving Princeton and Penn two major losses last weekend, the Harvard women's tennis team is breathing a little easier.
The Tigers and the Quakers proved to be formidable opponents, but the Crimson (6-6, 4-0 Ivy) was up for the task.
Leading the Ivy League with an undefeated record, the national rankings do not show the depth and superiority of the No. 75 Crimson squad, which has faced a number of tough non-league matches all year.
Earlier this season, the Crimson faced a handful of Top 20 teams, including No. 9 Pepperdine, No. 12 Vanderbilt, and No. 14 William and Mary. In contrast, Princeton and Penn are Nos. 69 and 49, respectively.
"We have had to face a much tougher schedule this season," Captain Ivy Wang said. "The record doesn't look as good as it actually is."
Even though the Crimson has had to face numerous top-ranked teams, the team has not let that stand in the way of its impressive record.
What Harvard may seem to lack numerically, it most assuredly compensates with ferocity, which helps the Crimson win matches.
Harvard opened last weekend with a close 5-4 win over the Tigers, in perhaps the strongest team effort all season. After the singles matches and the first two doubles matches were finished, the Crimson found itself in a precarious position--tied 4-4 with one match hanging in the balance.
In the No. 3 doubles match, junior Roxanna Curto and freshman Sarah McGinty were the lucky ones who found the fate of the match in their hands.
The Tigers' Kristi Watson and Olivia Streatfield forced McGinty and Curto into a 6-5 deficit, but the Crimson duo soon turned the table, winning 8-6 to clinch the match.
Another bonus for the Crimson was the return of Wang, who had been out with a shoulder injury all season and faced speculation that she would not come back this year.
Returning to fill the No. 2 spot for Harvard, she faced off against Amanda Hastings-Philips. After falling behind 6-3, she rose to the challenge and finished off her Tiger competitor, winning the next two sets, 6-1 and 7-5.
"It feels great to be back. My shoulder will never be one hundred percent again, but I didn't expect to even be able to play," Wang said. "Look at what I do have, instead of what I don't have, and I go out with a lot of attitude because I'm happy to be playing."
Junior No. 1 Vedica Jain and freshman No. 3 Andrea Magyera all won their matches, giving the Crimson a 3-0 advantage over Princeton.
Unfortunately for Harvard, Princeton was not ready to concede defeat.
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