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Road Trip Results Mixed

By Catherine E. Coppinger, Crimson Staff Writer

In a weekend of key Ivy League contests for No. 6 Harvard (7-3, 3-2 Ivy), the Crimson played to mixed results, defeating Penn (4-6, 1-4) in the first match on Saturday but losing to Princeton yesterday afternoon.

PRINCETON 7, HARVARD 2

Playing away from home for the last time this regular season, Harvard matched up well to a tough Princeton squad yesterday. But, despite picking up 10 games over the Tigers (8-1, 5-1), the Crimson was unable to pull out the upset over No. 3 Princeton.

“We were hoping to take momentum from [the win on] Saturday and bring it to the match against Princeton,” senior Richard Hill said. “But, they were better than us [yesterday].”

Harvard went into the matchup riding a four-game winning streak but suffered its first loss of the New Year. Though a win against the Tigers was a necessary piece in the Crimson’s quest for an Ancient Eight title, Harvard will likely get a chance at retribution in the near future, with CSA nationals looming in the distance.

“There are a lot of good things we can take away from [the match],” Hill continued. “We won two matches, there’s a lot to be learned, and this weekend was good preparation for Trinity on Wednesday.”

Freshman Nigel Koh and classmate Tom Mullaney picked up wins for the Crimson at the No. 6 and No. 7 spots, respectively.

Koh swept his opponent, though just two points decided the first and final sets. Mullaney beat his challenger in five games, winning the second, third, and fifth.

“We played a lot of close matches, but we weren’t able to pull it through in the end,” freshman Gary Power said.

Individual losses suffered against the Tigers were closer than they appear. Of the seven matches the Tigers won over the Crimson, three went to at least four games, and Harvard took six sets to extra points.

“Today we didn’t play badly, we just didn’t win the close matches,” freshman Gary Power said. “At this level everyone is so close that [a match’s outcome] can vary a lot week to week.”

HARVARD 8, PENN 1

In Harvard’s first contest of the weekend, the Crimson soundly defeated the No. 10 Quakers.

“The match against Penn went really well for us,” Hill said. “It was a great test for all players, top to bottom.”

At the No. 1 spot, Power won out against Thomas Mattsson, defeating his Quaker opponent, 3-1. The match was a close one, with the first and last sets going into extra points. But, after dropping the first game of the match 12-10, Power came back with three strong sets to win the contest in four.

Co-captain Reed Endresen picked up his third win at the No. 2 spot for the Crimson, defeating Quaker Danny Greenberg in four sets.

The first set finished in favor of Penn, but Endresen was able to outlast his opponent. This was especially evident in the third set—a 16-14 battle for the 2-1 advantage in games.

“Fitness was a key element in helping us win,” Hill said. “It also took mental strength to be able to handle the pressure of the crowd and the opponents. That really carried us through in the end.”

Outstanding performances for Harvard came from everywhere in the lineup, with freshman Thomas Mullaney and sophomore Alexander Ma picking up dominant victories in straight sets. Hill and freshman Brandon McLaughlin defeated their respective opponents in tough five-game matches.

Harvard’s one loss came at the No. 9 spot, as Penn’s Justin Ang defeated Crimson junior William Ahmed in four sets. The match included an 11-9 victory in the first set and two other games decided by just two points.

Overall, this weekend marked one of the season’s biggest tests yet for the Crimson, which has just two more regular season matches left to play. For the rest of the season, fitness appears to be one of Harvard’s main focuses.

“We’ve been doing a lot of fitness, about three times a week,” Power said. “Our bodies will definitely be well prepared for our [upcoming] matches.”

—Staff writer Catherine E. Coppinger can be reached at ccoppinger@college.harvard.edu.

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