Two Crimson sophomores emerged victorious from their singles brackets as the Harvard women’s tennis team opened its 2015 fall season at the annual Harvard Fall Classic within the confines of the Beren Tennis Center.
The Crimson and six other East Coast teams—Boston College, Boston University, Columbia, Connecticut, Wake Forest, and Yale—competed in four singles brackets and two doubles brackets. By the end of the weekend, Harvard second-years Annika Ringblom and Ellen Jang-Milsten finished atop their respective singles brackets.
“I thought it was a very exciting first home tournament for our squad,” Harvard coach Traci Green said. “We have a very young squad, and it was great to see the players back in action.”
On Sunday, Ringblom bested Wake Forest freshman Emma Davis for the singles green championship, while Jang-Milsten ousted Wake Forest junior Luisa Fernandez for the singles blue title.
Ringblom cemented her place in the championship game with consecutive three-set victories. In the semifinals, the sophomore defeated junior Samantha Asch of Wake Forest in three sets, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3. Prior to that, she fought back against Yale freshman Amy Yang after losing the first set, 2-6, to take her first match.
As for Jang-Milsten, the sophomore rolled past Demon Deacons senior Xue Zhang on Saturday, 6-2, 6-0, after receiving a first-round bye on Friday. Later that day, she edged Wake Forest senior Andrea Retolaza Andrade in a three-set nail-biter, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (4).
Including Ringblom and Jang-Milsten, Harvard found itself heading into Sunday with players in three of the four singles championships and one of the two doubles championships. While the spring season is team-oriented, singles players and doubles pairs typically enter as individuals during the fall.
The weekend also offered the first match action for two Crimson rookies. Freshman Erica Oosterhout reached the final match of the singles red bracket, where she fell to BC junior Lexi Borr, while classmate Isabel Jasper, paired with Jang-Milsten, made it to the Doubles B division championship match.
“We had two freshmen that did a very good job for us this weekend here,” Green said. “Both of them competed really well this weekend, and we got to see some things they need to work on as well as some things they do really well.”
On Friday, Oosterhout opened her invitational by dismantling Connecticut senior Srna Stosljevic in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2. Then on the second day of the tournament, she faced off against Demon Deacons junior Kimmy Guerin and handily won her match, 6-2, 6-3, to reach the final.
Meanwhile, Jasper and Jang-Milsten reached the championship match by besting BU’s Iris Lin and Kate Semashka, 8-7 (5), and Columbia’s Nada Zaher and Lindsey Mendelson, 8-4.
“I think it was a good first tournament,” Jang-Milsten said. “I think a lot of us haven’t played matches in a while, so it was good to get out here and play matches against different teams. It was also good because Columbia and Yale are here, and we’ll be playing them a lot; it was fun to see them, fun to play against them.”
Elsewhere in individual play, Crimson sophomore Nikki Kallenberg defeated BU senior Lauren Davis, 6-3, 6-2, in her opening match before falling to Borr in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2.
In addition to her doubles title, Jasper also came away with a win in her first individual match of the weekend over BU freshman Kaely Malik. However, she conceded her next match against the Bulldogs due to injury.
In doubles, the duo of Ringblom and Oosterhout defeated the Terriers’ Iryna Kostirko and Remi Ramos, 8-4, in the A bracket but lost its next match against BC’s Katya Vasilyev and Emily Safron, 4-8. Another Eagles pair, Wan-Yi Sweeting and Asiya Dair, defeated Kallenberg and captain Amy He, 8-3, in the Doubles B division.“In general, we’re a bit rusty,” Green said. “We’ve only had about a week of practice, so we weren’t really expecting too much, but we’re thrilled with the way we always competed. We had a whole lot of three set matches and a lot of them went our way. [We’re] looking for more good things from our team for sure after some more weeks of practice.”