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San Francisco freshman Camille Pamart looked a little out of place. Sporting long black pants and a t-shirt, she hardly looked ready to take on Harvard co-captain Susanna Lingman at the No. 1 singles match.
And, as Lingman deftly dropped a shot just beyond her reach, Pamart could not help but crack a smile and clap her hands to her racket in admiration.
Yes, she might be a little out of place.
The No. 22 Harvard women’s tennis team (7-5) dominated San Francisco (8-6) at the Murr Center Saturday afternoon, easily cruising to a 7-0 win.
The game started with the Crimson sweeping all three pairs matches to earn the doubles point.
The dismantling of the Dons continued in singles play when all six members of the Harvard squad took apart their opposition, winning in straight sets. The Crimson was so dominant that, of all six singles matches, only San Francisco’s Anna Skogerboe was able to win more than two games in any particular set, playing at No. 5.
Regardless, Harvard freshman Preethi Mukundan downplayed the total domination as solid effort.
“I played very well, as did the whole team,” Mukundan said. “We played with confidence out there.”
The Crimson has been on a streak of sorts, having won four of its last five matches coming into its matchup with the Dons.
The only scary moment of the competition came midway through the singles matches when Mukundan was injured on a seemingly innocent play. After returning an offer from rival Gabrielle Ruiz, Mukundan went down to the floor awkwardly.
She was attended to by the trainers and resumed her match after a brief timeout. If she was suffering from any effects of her injury, it was hard to discern, as she won out her remaining games of the match.
“I sprained my ankle, but I was able to play through it with success,” Mukundan said.
BOSTON COLLEGE 5, HARVARD 2
After entertaining the Dons on its home court, the Crimson (7-6) set across the city for a matinee against No. 66 Boston College.
The affair would turn out to be a long one, culminating in a 5-2 loss to the Eagles (7-5) well over six hours after matches first got underway.
Of special concern was the venue for the matchups.
The playing conditions clearly affected the Harvard players, who were unaccustomed to playing at the William J. Flynn Recreational Center.
“I thought I played well, considering I was playing in a whole new place,” sophomore Eva Wang said. “The courts were really fast and parts of the ceiling were really low, like a dome.”
Such sentiments are shared by Mukundan.
“We were playing under some diverse conditions,” Mukundan said. “The courts were not in the best condition, and [because there were not enough courts] we had players who were waiting to play, so we were not on the courts all at the same time.”
Harvard fought hard early on, but lost two of the three matches to concede the doubles point.
Singles play was just as intense.
At No 1. singles, Lingman battled back from a first set 7-5 loss to reach a second set tiebreak, before falling to her opponent, Szilvia Szegedi, 7-5, 7-6 (2).
Sophomore Lyly Cao Minh showed similar resiliency, forcing a second set tiebreak after losing the first set 6-0. Mukundan and fellow freshman Cindy Chu took their opponents to the limit, losing in three sets, 6-4, 6-7 (9), 7-6 (4) and 3-6, 7-5, 6-1, respectively.
Wang and Melissa Anderson secured Harvard’s two points with singles victories.
“We barely lost the doubles point, and all of the matches were very close,” Mukundan said. “I guess it was just one of those days.”
The Crimson was also playing shorthanded, not having its best player and co-captain Courtney Bergman available for action. Junior Alexis Martire has also seen limited action due to recent injuries.
After splitting the two games, Harvard will embark on a west coast trip to face three top-ranked teams—No. 14 Fresno State, No. 36 Arizona State and No. 31 Pepperdine—over spring break. The team is optimistic that they will be able to put the tough loss to Boston College behind them.
“[The loss] is going to affect our rankings, but it is not going to hinder our reaching our goals,” Wang said. “It just makes us more eager to go on this trip and try to get back our standings.”
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