The Crimson (10-6) ended its spring break excursion in disappointing 1-3 fashion, and with Ivy League play just around the corner, all hopes are for the return of the Harvard squad which won eight straight matches earlier this season—not the team which has lost four of the last five.
“Is it a concern?” asked Harvard coach Dave Fish ’71. “Well, it’s disappointing to guys, but the teams that we’ve played out here are very good, they’re very accomplished at what they do, and I think that our [top-15] ranking at that point in the season [when] we got it was probably somewhat inflated.”
This is not to say that the Crimson played poorly against Santa Barbara and Pepperdine.
“In terms of the quality...of play and our energy this break,” said junior Jonathan Chu, “it was pretty high and it was very good [respectively].”
But it wasn’t quite enough, as the squad ended its trip with just a single win.
PEPPERDINE 4, HARVARD 3
Following his team’s loss to the Pepperdine Waves (13-7, 2-0 West Coast), Fish was quick to point out that the rankings can often be misleading.
While Pepperdine has broken the top 20 only once this season, the Waves did push No. 4 USC to a deciding seventh match before falling 4-3 only recently.
“That’s how good they are,” he said of the Waves. “So we’ve been really close.”
The Crimson dropped the doubles point despite the continued dominance of senior Chris Chiou and co-captain Cliff Nguyen, who took the third match 8-5 and remained a flawless 7-for-7.
But Harvard’s first doubles team of junior Jonathan Chu and co-captain David Lingman, ranked No. 37 in the nation, lost 8-6—the duo’s third straight loss of that slim margin.
“When we’re not threatening at first doubles much, that hurts us,” Fish admitted, “because I think we can do better than that.”
Earlier in the season, Fish had said that the pair might be “serious contenders as All-Americans.” Since then, though, Lingman and Chu have won just one match and lost seven.
Senior Mark Riddell and sophomore Brandon Chiu lost the second doubles match 8-4 to a pair which regularly plays in Pepperdine’s top spot and carried a ranking of No. 18.
Harvard’s success now depended on the singles competition, but the squad came up just shy of victory.
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