The Harvard women’s tennis team was unable to pick up its first Ivy League win of the season in its final opportunity Saturday against Dartmouth. The Crimson fell to the Big Green, 5-2, on Senior Day at the Beren Tennis Center in what was captain Sylvia Li’s final match. This was the first season during coach Traci Green’s eight-year tenure in Cambridge that Harvard has gone winless in conference play.
“I was proud of our fight and heart,” Green said. “Throughout the whole season, we’ve been battling a lot of adversity and unexpected injuries to our top players. We’ve never stopped fighting, never got negative. We pulled together, and that really showed against Dartmouth. We might have had a losing record, but we had a winning attitude, and that’s what’s important.”
Dartmouth (18-5, 5-2 Ivy) jumped out to an early lead after winning the day’s first two doubles matches. The Crimson (7-12, 0-7) used the same doubles lineup that split the doubles points with Brown and Yale last weekend, but did not receive the same success on Saturday.
In a matchup of two underclassman duos, sophomore Monica Lin and freshman Annika Ringblom of Harvard fell to sophomore Taylor Ng and freshman Kristina Mathis, 8-3. In the second doubles match, the Big Green’s duo of co-captain Akiko Okuda and junior Katherine Yau bested junior Amy He and freshman Ellen Jang-Milsten, 8-4. The loss snaped He and Jang-Milsten’s two-match win streak.
The Crimson roared back once singles play began. After Ringblom took her first set against Yau, the Dartmouth junior defaulted in the second set to give Harvard the match and tie the overall score at one. He kept the momentum going from the sixth singles spot, claiming victory over Okuda with a 7-5, 6-3 victory to give the Crimson a 2-1 edge. The singles victory was He’s second in a row. The wins for Ringblom and He allowed both of them to finish their spring campaigns with .500 records (11-11).
“Our team was resilient each and every week,” Green said. “We set out to achieve our goals, and if they didn’t happen, we brushed the dirt off and got right back on the saddle. All those life lessons will definitely bode well for the future. We have a very young team.”
Harvard was unable to pick up a win in the day’s final four matches as the Big Green picked up victories in the first, third, fourth, and fifth singles slots. The Crimson was once again without freshman and first singles player Nikki Kallenberg, who re-aggravated an injury last weekend. In the day’s top singles match, Ng ousted sophomore Monica Lin in a hard-fought 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 contest. In the day’s closest match, Jang-Milsten fell to sophomore Jacqueline Crawford.
Mathis ousted sophomore June Lee, 7-6, 6-2. Lee struggled to find a rhythm in Ivy League play after battling injuries for the majority of the season. After picking up a key victory in last weekend’s match against Brown, junior Amanda Lin fell to Dartmouth freshman Julia Schroeder, 3-6, 6-4, 3-6.
“Overall, it was a pretty close match,” Lee said. “It could have gone either way. This season didn’t go how we wanted it to, but at the same time, each match was better than the last. I think a season like this shows us how anything can happen in the Ivies, and we’re just going to have to work on execution and staying positive throughout the whole match.”
Harvard went 42-33 in Li’s four years with the team, 12-16 in Ivy League play. The Cupertino, Calif., native finished her senior campaign with a 12-9 individual record, also reaching the regional quarterfinals in doubles play in the fall.
“Sylvia is a very warm, generous, kind person,” Green said. “We’re going to miss her a lot, on and off the court. On the court, she’s got a huge serve, a huge forehand. We’re definitely going to miss those aspects of her game that help us and propel the team along.”
—Staff writer Stephen J. Gleason can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Women's Tennis Takes Home Singles, Doubles Titles At Brown InvitationalRoommates, best friends, and teammates. Sophomores Nikki Kallenberg and Annika Ringblom satisfy all those descriptions, but for one, hard-fought match, they met as opponents in the championship match of the Brown Invitational top singles flight.
Women's Tennis Drops Pair of Home Ivy MatchesDespite a five-match winning streak that spanned spring break, the Harvard women’s tennis team (10-8, 0-2 Ivy) fell to Cornell (12-7, 1-2 Ivy) and Columbia (13-4, 3-0 Ivy) this past weekend at home. Its recent success in California over the break included victories against multiple non-Ivy teams—Providence, Rhode Island, Loyola Marymount, UCSB, and Fresno State. However, the Crimson was unable to carry the momentum home for its first two Ancient Eight matches.
Women's Tennis Cleans Up in California, Pushes Win Streak to EightWhile the weather in southern California was uncharacteristically cool during the Harvard women’s tennis team’s trip to the region, the squad’s red-hot play made up for it. The Crimson won all three matches, each of which was played outdoor under the California sun, to push its win streak to eight.
Women's Tennis Stays Unbeaten in Ivy PlayThe Crimson remained unbeaten in conference play with a pair of 4-3 wins, edging out Brown on Friday indoors in Providence before topping archrival Yale outside at the Beren Tennis Center two days later.
Women's Tennis Splits Ivy Matches in New YorkHarvard split its weekend road contests with its Ivy League foes from the Empire State. The Crimson has a chance to win the Ivy League with two wins against Penn and Princeton next weekend.