Crimson Holds Onto Perfect Ivy Record

Meghan T. Purdy

In three matchups this weekend, junior Elsa O’Riain did not lose in either doubles or singles matches, helping the Crimson to three wins.

The No. 17 Harvard women’s tennis team welcomed three guests to Cambridge for the first weekend of the Ivy League season. It showed less hospitality on the court, beating them to set up a highly anticipated showdown with No. 42 Penn next weekend.

On Friday, the Crimson beat Cornell 6-1, and then dispatched Columbia 7-0 on Saturday. On Sunday, the team dusted Rice by a 5-2 margin in a non-conference tune-up at the Beren Tennis Center.

Harvard (13-6, 2-0 Ivy) will carry a three-game winning streak into Friday’s match with Penn—who also boasts an umblemished Ivy record.

The winner will likely end up with the league’s automatic NCAA Tournament bid.

“If we don’t win the Ivies,” said junior Elsa O’Riain, who did not lose during the weekend in singles or doubles, “everything goes so much harder. That will be the grudge match.”

Harvard provided plenty of reasons to feel good about the remaining regular-season schedule, which will wrap up in just more than two weeks.

The Crimson was particularly dominant in doubles, losing only two matches and taking the points in all three. O’Riain, freshman Laura Peterzan, and junior Preethi Mukundan went undefeated in singles.

“It’ll be nice to have a winning streak going into [next week],” O’Riain said.

Said Peterzan of her run through opponents Nisha Shuda, Sydney Murray, and Tiffany Lee, “Everything was good, really solid. I was being really positive.”


Harvard didn’t know what to expect from Rice, a non-conference opponent that no member of the Crimson had ever played.

No matter—Harvard swept through four of six singles matches, and two of three in doubles, taking its 13th win of the season and completing the weekend winning streak.

“We kind of went into the weekend thinking anything less than three wins would be a disappointment,” Riain said.


On Saturday, the Crimson welcomed Columbia indoors to the Murr Center.

“We knew they were better than Cornell,” O’Riain said, adding that the team was nonetheless “more comfortable” against the Lions.

Harvard took two of three in doubles, and then swept through the singles without losing a set until sophomore Stephanie Schnitter lost the front end of an eventual tiebreaker victory against Lauren Shearer of the Lions.

With the win, Harvard improved to 2-0 in the Ivy League and put itself on track to win the league title.

“It was definitely good that we got off to a good start,” Peterzan said. “That’s our goal, really.”


The Crimson started the weekend with a Friday victory against Cornell, the latest chapter in a winning streak that is 24 years old.

Harvard swept doubles; only freshman Catriona Stewart, playing at No. 6, lost in singles. Senior Eva Wang, O’Riain, Peterzan, senior Melissa Anderson, and Mukundan all won in straight sets.

“Everyone played solidly,” O’Riain said.

—Staff writer Alex McPhillips can be reached at