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Staying hot in Ivy League contests, Harvard women’s tennis finished off the weekend with two wins to stay undefeated in league play. The resounding victories over Ancient Eight rivals prepared the team for its next two home matches against Columbia and Cornell this upcoming weekend.
HARVARD 6, YALE 1
On Sunday afternoon the Crimson commuted to New Haven to take on Ivy League rival Yale (6-14, 0-3 Ivy). The lowly Bulldogs remain winless in league play while Harvard lengthened its winning streak to five matches.
The Crimson (11-8, 3-0) actually started out the match losing the first doubles point. Junior Erica Oosterhout and sophomore Natasha Gonzalez were the only pair to win a doubles match.
“It was great to see everyone come out ready to go in singles after we dropped the doubles point,” sophomore Jenna Friedel said. “Everyone was able to mentally turn the page and get after it from the start of singles.”
Harvard turned around the result entirely and completely dominated singles play. Harvard won all six matches. Oosterhout led the charge and beat Yale’s Samantha Martinelli 6-4, 7-6 in first singles, earning her 18th singles win of the season. In third singles, Crimson sophomore Irene Lu battled the Bulldogs’ Valerie Shklover in third singles. Lu was trailing 1-0, but quickly battled back to dominate the match, 6-1, 6-0.
Sophomore Lexi Milunovich had a close match against Yale’s Elizabeth Zordani in fifth singles. Milunovich defeated Zordani in three sets, 6-2, 5-7, 10-2. Senior captain Annika Ringblom finished off her successful weekend by defeating her opponent Lauren Gillinov, 6-0, 6-1.
HARVARD 5, BROWN 2
Both Harvard and Brown went into Friday off of victories in opening conference contests. As with Yale, the Crimson dropped the doubles point to Brown, but ended up winning the match by winning five out of the six singles points.
“I’m just so proud of our squad,” Harvard coach Traci Green said. “We came back after losing the doubles point. It didn’t look great out there for a very long time but we fought tooth and nail and came through today so I’m really proud of the resilience primarily but overall heart of our team.”
Oosterhout and Gonzalez performed well in doubles and was tied 5-5 with their Yale competition before the doubles point was determined. In singles play, Gonzalez had a stand out performance by clinching the win for the Crimson in her sixth singles match, a tightly contested matchup against the Bulldogs’ Juliana Simon. Gonzalez won the first set 6-4, but then Simon responded to win the next set 7-5. In the final set, Gonzalez solidified the win against Brown for the Crimson by defeating Simon 6-3.
“A lot of the matches went three sets which means it was a battle either way. Natasha really stepped up nicely again,” Green said. “It is the second time clinching in a row for us which is huge. She's only a sophomore so we expect more great things to come.”
Even though Harvard had already clinched the match, Oosterhout and sophomore Jenna Friedel continued impressive play for Harvard. Oosterhout defeated her opponent, Alyza Benotto in first singles (7-6, 4-6, 6-4). Friedel also had a standout performance in the match, defeating Brown’s Maddie Stearns in three sets (6-2, 1-6, 6-2) in second singles.
“And Erica she has been batting a few injured here and there and I’m really proud of the way she came through there in the end even when the match was already clinched,” Green said. “Annika as always had super energy out there and she gets the team fired up. Jenna Friedel she was a fighter out there totally, she came out with a fast start and got tripped up a little bit but turned it around in the third for us.”
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