W. Tennis Handles U.C. Santa Barbara Before Falling to the Nation's Best

Coming off a dominant win over Old Dominion in their last pre-spring match, the Harvard women's tennis team finally snapped their road woes with a dominant 7-2 win in California over the University of California, Santa Barbara, March 26 to open its spring break road trip.

After defeating the favorites in the Big West Conference, however, the Crimson dropped the final three games of the trip against nationally ranked competition to fall to 5-9 on the season.

Harvard lost back-to-back games on March 28 and 29, falling to No. 2 Pepperdine, 9-0, and No. 7 Southern California, 7-1. The No. 53 Crimson closed out the trip on Saturday at San Diego with a 5-4 setback.


At U.C. Santa Barbara, the favorites to win the Big West Conference, the Crimson rolled to victory, posting impressive wins in both singles and doubles play. Led by captain Vedica Jain, playing in just her second singles match since suffering an injury, the team seemed rejuvenated and ready to rebound from its shaky start.

Prior to the California trip, the Crimson had dropped its previous four road contests, so the win provided the team with some much-needed momentum for its upcoming Ivy League schedule. Though establishing its ability to win away from the friendly confines of the Murr Center, the Crimson look forward to hosting Columbia in the Ivy opener on April 7 at 2 p.m.

Jain set the tempo for the match at the No. 2 spot with a convincing straight sets victory over the Gauchos' Shannon Wilkens, losing only one game in each of the two 6-1 sets. Just minutes later, freshman Lara Naqushbandi knocked off Dana Mazza, winning handily in two sets, 6-2 and 6-1. Junior Sanaz Ghazal, playing at No. 3, battled back from a 4-1 deficit in the second set to defeat Jill Katzenberger 6-1 and 6-4 and open up a 3-0 lead over the Gauchos. The team never looked back from there.

Sophomore Jennie Timoney outlasted opponent Gaby Andrade 6-3, 7-6 (3) in an exciting tiebreaker in the second set, which placed the Crimson to within one victory of the team win.

The next singles match featured No. 1 freshman Sanja Bajin, who was riding a five-match winning streak with her recent play. Bajin had provided some of the Crimson's only bright spots during the absence of the injured Jain, earning recognition with wins over top-ranked players from Mississippi and Old Dominion. However, Bajin fell short in her match against the Gauchos' Cindy Ammann despite a solid comeback effort in the second set, losing 6-1, 7-6.

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