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In sports, hard work does not always equal success. This weekend, the men’s tennis team learned that lesson the hard way.
The No. 64 Crimson hosted Indiana, William & Mary, and Boston University at the Murr Tennis Center this weekend. Harvard (2-3) could not overcome its competition in the first two matches and lost both, but the Crimson rebounded from the defeats to crush Boston University yesterday evening, 7-0.
“I was really encouraged,” Harvard coach Dave Fish said. “Indiana was a classy team and really well-conditioned. There was not a weak spot in the lineup. We learned about the level they’re seeing everyday in the Big Ten, and we’re getting better from it.”
HARVARD 7, BOSTON UNIVERSITY 0
Harvard started off its matchup against the Terriers by winning all three doubles matches to decisively claim the doubles point. Junior Davis Mangham and senior Alexei Chijoff-Evans teamed up for a comfortable 8-1 win over their opponents.
Co-captain Aba Omodele-Lucien and freshman John Thornton were even more ruthless, keeping their opponents from winning a single game on their way to an 8-0 victory. The Crimson continued its sweep into the singles portion of the matchup, winning all six matches against its opponents.
WILLIAM & MARY 4, HARVARD 3
Fans of professional tennis may find singles to be more exciting to watch, but the doubles was the heart of the real action against William & Mary. All three matches went to a tiebreak to decide the winners.
Omodele-Lucien and Tchan were down 7-6 in the set, but managed to break their opponents to even the score. The two teams continued to a tiebreak that saw the Harvard players get out to an early lead. On the first match point, an overhead smash by the Tribe pair kept its hopes alive, but, on the next point, the opponents hit the ball out to give the Crimson the win.
Pearlman and MacMaster had another close match, but could not pull out the win against their competitors. The duo had two match points in the tiebreak, but failed to convert either of them, instead going down, 8-6, in the breaker.
“It was very close,” assistant coach Andrew Rueb said. “We had two match points that would have given us the doubles point, but that’s tennis for you.”
Despite this early setback, the Crimson still had a chance to win, but the squad split the singles matches. Tchan had a comfortable 6-1, 6-2 win over his opponent to get his team out to an early lead in singles, but Harvard lost three of its other five singles matches to give William & Mary a 4-3 victory.
INDIANA 6, HARVARD 1
The weekend got off to a rough start for the Crimson with a 6-1 loss to Indiana, the squad’s second defeat of the season’s three dual matches so far. Harvard started out the day by losing all three of the doubles matches to forfeit the doubles point to Indiana. The duo of Felton and Nguyen came the closest to scoring a win, but the two fell to junior Stephen Vogl and sophomore Josh MacTaggart, 9-7.
Things only got worse in the singles portion of the event, with five of the players dropping their individual matches—four of them doing so in straight sets.
Sophomore Andy Nguyen scored the lone point for his team in the matchup against Indiana. There was a high-pressure tiebreak in the first set, which Nguyen lost, seven points to five. The sophomore turned things around though after, taking the next two sets and the match, 6-3, 6-4.
Omodele-Lucien had a two-match winning streak going into the weekend, but any chances of extending that were stopped in its tracks against freshman Claes Goransson. Omodele-Lucien cruised through the first set comfortably, 6-1. Then things started to go downhill for the captain as he lost the next set by a similar score, 6-2. It was a tight third set, but Goransson was just too strong in the end, taking the match—and another singles point for his squad—6-4 in the third.
—Staff writer Steven T. A. Roach can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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