The Harvard women’s tennis team kicked off spring break with a pair of wins, as the Crimson triumphed over both Stony Brook and Providence at the Murr Center on March 11.
Harvard only lost one matchup in the doubleheader, besting the Seawolves, 6-1, and shutting out the Friars (4-8), 7-0. The victory over Providence was a repeat performance, as the Crimson (9-5) took last year’s contest by the same margin.
The most recent match against Stony Brook (3-6) came two years ago in the spring of 2015. The Crimson was the victor in that contest as well, 5-2.
“Our goal is to go 5-0 during the spring break period, and going 2-0 was the first step,” Harvard coach Traci Green said.
HARVARD, 6, STONY BROOK, 1
In the first doubles slot, captain June Lee and sophomore Erica Oosterhout bested the Seawolves’ first doubles tandem, Yana Nikolaeva and Ester Chikvashvili, in a 6-1 win. A duo of Harvard sophomores, Isabel Jasper and Sabrina Xiong, made quick work of Ana Carrion-Rodriguez and Amanda Foo in the third position, prevailing 6-0.
“The doubles was always the missing ingredient, and now we feel like if we come out strong from the blocks, we can beat any team in the country,” Green said. “So that’s a nice feeling to have. We put in the work, and now it’s time to get those matches under our belt.”
Against the Seawolves, Oosterhout earned her ninth victory of the spring as she ousted Nikolaeva 6-2, 6-2. Lee evened up her record at 4-4 with a win over Chikvashvili in the second slot, 6-2, 6-2.
Freshman Natasha Gonzalez bested Chikvashvili for her second win in the fourth position with a 6-4, 6-3 showing. Xiong beat Foo in the 5th position 6-2, 6-2, while freshman Angelina Ye earned her second win in the sixth position against Seawolf Anniki Hiel 6-1, 6-2.
Though she competed at singles against Stony Brook and Providence, Gonzalez has been successful in her short career at doubles, playing with fellow freshman Irene Lu. The duo has a record of 8-2 this season, which is the best among Harvard doubles pairings.
HARVARD, 7, PROVIDENCE, 0
In the second match against the Friars, the top two Crimson doubles pairings earned victories in straight sets without conceding a single game. In the first position, Lee and Oosterhout bested Amanda Pitocco and Aidan Epstein, 6-0. Xiong and Jasper followed up with a 6-0 defeat over Katherine DeNucci and Annie DaSilva.
Against Providence, Oosterhout beat Risa Takenaka in first position in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0. Lee took on and won the second slot against Amanda Pitocco, only dropping one game in the process, 6-1, 6-0.
“June really is a special player for us,” Green said. “When she leaves us, she’ll definitely be missed. She is very fiery and that fire typically gets others going around her. June’s a fighter and we know when she’s fighting, we have a chance, so we’re really proud of the way she’s been fighting for us and we’d really love to keep building on our doubles and single.”
Gonzalez beat the Friars’ Katie Marvin in the third position in three sets, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1. Ye bested Epstein for her third victory in the fourth position, 6-0, 6-1. Jasper outdid DeNucci in the fifth slot, 6-2, 6-4.
“We have always been pretty confident in our singles, we feel like we have a lot of depth and a lot of experience,” Green said.
Capping off Crimson’s 7-0 win was freshman Kaelli Thiel against Natalie Pitocco in the sixth position. The Piedmont, Calif. native took three sets and a tiebreaker to emerge victorious, 6-4, 4-6, 10-7.
These two wins marked Green’s 100th and 101st all-time victories, making her only the second coach in Harvard women’s tennis history to reach triple-digit wins.
“It feels great to get those victories,” Green said. “More importantly, our team won and we are progressing towards our goal, and our goal is to win the Ivy League.”
—Contributing writer Bianca Rodriguez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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