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Crimson Places Fourth at ECAC Indoors

Junior co-captain Holly Cao picked up a pair of singles victories at the No. 1 position for the Crimson this weekend, but her efforts could not prevent Harvard from finishing fourth in the ECAC Indoors this weekend.
Junior co-captain Holly Cao picked up a pair of singles victories at the No. 1 position for the Crimson this weekend, but her efforts could not prevent Harvard from finishing fourth in the ECAC Indoors this weekend.
By Stephanie E. Herwatt

Presidents’ Day weekend was all business for the Harvard women’s tennis team as it traveled to Princeton, N.J., to compete in the ECAC Indoor Championships.

The No. 55 Crimson finished in the top half of the eight-team field—seven of which came from the Ivy League, and played three matches in as many days. After defeating Cornell, 6-1, in its opening match on Friday, third-seeded Harvard fell to No. 40 Yale, 6-1, in Saturday’s semifinals. The Crimson secured its fourth-place finish in the tournament with a 4-1 loss to Brown Sunday.

“Overall, we did a pretty solid job,” junior co-captain Holly Cao said. “We came away a little bit disappointed that we had one win out of the three matches, but it was a good weekend for gaining more experience. We performed pretty well in doubles, which we were happy about.”

Known to struggle to earn the doubles point in the past, Harvard managed to turn the tides this weekend, winning the doubles point in two of its three matches.

“The coaches have been trying some new partnerships and have been putting an increased emphasis on doubles,” Cao said. “It paid off this weekend, which was good to see.”


The Crimson (3-5) opened the tournament strong with a solid victory over the Big Red (4-2).

“We knew that we could get a victory over Cornell, so we stuck to our game, played a solid match, and were happy to come away with the win,” Cao said.

Wins on the No. 2 and No. 3 courts secured the doubles point for Harvard, and strong singles play reinforced the Crimson’s command of the courts.

No. 47 Cao continued to dominate at the No. 1 position, taking her singles match, 6-1, 6-1.

Sophomore Hideko Tachibana earned a victory in straight sets on the No. 2 court, 6-2, 6-2, and sophomore Kristin Norton won in three sets in the No. 3 position.

While co-captain Samantha Rosekrans dropped a point for Harvard on the No. 5 court in three sets, close straight-set victories by freshman Natalie Blosser and junior Samantha Gridley on the No. 4 and No. 6 court, respectively, secured the Crimson’s final two points of the match.

“We played really well and came out competing,” Tachibana said. “We had a lot of momentum going and took care of business that day.”


With Harvard’s opening day play earning it a berth to the semifinals, the squad met a tough match in the Bulldogs (9-2), falling to the tournament’s eventual champions.

“Yale’s a tough team filled with pretty good team-players,” Cao said. “Even though we lost this one, every single match was close, and we hope that next time we can come away with the win.”

Despite an 8-2 win on the No. 3 court by freshman Hannah Morrill and Rosekrans, the Bulldogs took an early lead in the match by capturing the doubles point with wins on the No. 1 and No. 2 courts.

Cao gave some hope to the Crimson with a win on the No. 1 court, 7-6, 6-0, yet this would turn out to be Harvard’s only point of the match. Cao remained undefeated in singles play this season, boasting a 6-0 individual record.

“Holly is obviously a very valuable asset to our team,” Tachibana said. “We can always count on her to do a great job.” Tachibana and Blosser suffered three-set losses on the No. 2 and No. 4 courts, respectively, while Norton, Rosekrans, and Gridley fell narrowly in straight sets on the No. 3, 5, and 6 courts.

“Yale is always a personal battle,” Tachibana said. “We had a good opportunity to see what they have, and we know what we have to do next time.”


Playing for third-place on Sunday, the Crimson suffered a defeat to Brown (4-5), landing it in a fourth-place tournament finish.

“We were confident that we were playing well, but fatigue hurt us, and Brown got the upper hand,” Cao said.

Harvard started off strong by claiming the doubles point and the early lead with Tachibana and Norton earning a win on the No. 1 court, 8-6, and Cao and Blosser dominating in the No. 2 position, defeating their opponents, 8-4.

But the Crimson squad was unable to maintain its momentum and lost its first four completed singles matches in straight sets on the No. 3-6 courts.

Cao was leading her match in the No. 1 position, and Tachibana had split her first two sets when the matches were abandoned due to time constraints.

“Overall, it was a pretty good weekend for us in terms of just getting more match play and seeing how the rest of the Ivies are playing right now,” Cao said.

After defeating Harvard in the semifinals, Yale went on to defeat No. 36 Princeton in a close 4-3 win to secure its third straight ECAC title.

—Staff writer Stephanie E. Herwatt can be reached at

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Women's Tennis