Splitting up across the Ivy League, both of Harvard’s men and women’s tennis teams will be competing this weekend. The men’s team will be on the road for the Big Green Invite hosted by Dartmouth, and the women’s team will be playing at home, hosting the Harvard Fall Scramble.
After coming off of a very successful weekend in ITA regionals, the men’s team will look to continue this trend in this weekend’s tournament against Dartmouth, Buffalo, Brown, Yale, and Boston University. Senior Samuel Beren, senior Michael Peters, sophomore Constantine Zoske, and freshman Harris Walker will be traveling for the Crimson and will participate in both singles and doubles play.
“I think that it should be a good opportunity for...some of the guys who didn’t go to regionals to get in some match time and get some good competition experience against the other strong players in our region,” said senior captain Andy Zhou, who made it to the semifinal round in the ITA tournament the previous weekend. “We definitely need some of these matches under our belt, because it’s all good preparation for the spring season.”
The players attending are looking forward to playing some real matches against great competition.
“It’s always fun to play other Ivy League schools, but...it’s especially fun getting to see Ivy leagues and non-conference competition as well,” said Beren.
“It’s good to get some real competition, because we’ve been practicing the past couple of weeks,” said Beren. “We haven’t had a ton of matches this month, so we’re excited to get out there and just see what we’ve been working on and see how it’s doing.”
The team has been working on staying mentally tough and fighting for every point. For Beren, the key for another successful is to “trust what we’ve been training on for the past month, and just stay focused and give it a good effort.”
Harvard’s women’s team will also be seeing strong competition this weekend as they host Seton Hall, Rhode Island, and Fordham for a round-robin style tournament. Last year, the Crimson hosted Seton Hall, Rhode Island, and Middlebury, and saw victories against each school. This offseason, they have participated in three tournaments at Dartmouth, Columbia, and Yale. This tournament will be a good opportunity for the team to see some non-conference competition.
Just like the men’s, the team is coming off a great weekend at ITA Regionals, in which junior Jenna Friedel, junior Irene Lu, junior Natasha Gonzalez, and freshman Rachel Lim competed. The team is particularly excited for this weekend, however, because it is the first tournament where the whole team is going to be together.
“I think it will be a good test of what we’ve been doing in practice and what is to come for the season next semester,” said senior captain Erica Oosterhout.
Oosterhout is playing in the first tournament since her incredible performance at the ITA All-American Championship. She made it to the last round before losing in a tight match to No. 40 Petra Granic of the University of Texas. She went the furthest for any Ivy League Member.
The team has been focusing on playing real points to get ready for the weekend. The past couple of practices have been centered around staying mentally tough and maintaining a match mindset. Doubles play will be a main focus for this weekend as there will be particularly strong doubles competition.
Oosterhout is excited for the opportunity to see the entire team encouraging one another in real match play for the first time. For her, this weekend is really about ensuring a strong bond between teammates.
“The most important part is to stay cohesive as a team,” she mentioned. “Just making sure we’re cheering for each other as loudly as possible and having everybody be engaged.”
Both teams are experiencing productive and successful offseasons and are looking forward to the continuation of tough competition in the coming days.