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Harvard Men’s Tennis to Enter NCAA Round of 32 After Defeating Siena College

On Apr. 9, Harvard battled against Brown in a match at Beren Tennis Center, where the first two rounds of the 2023 NCAA Tournament will be held this weekend. The Crimson went on to defeat the Bears 7-0.
On Apr. 9, Harvard battled against Brown in a match at Beren Tennis Center, where the first two rounds of the 2023 NCAA Tournament will be held this weekend. The Crimson went on to defeat the Bears 7-0. By Cory K. Gorczycki
By Natalie T. Weiner, Crimson Staff Writer

“When is it easy? NEVER!” cries the Harvard men’s tennis team in anticipation of the upcoming NCAA tournament.

This motto is symbolic of the squad’s impressive mental and physical strength that propelled them to be crowned the Ivy League Champions for the second year in a row. Harvard was selected as the eleventh seed in the NCAA tournament and hosted the first two rounds today and Saturday at the Robert M. Beren Tennis Center.

“We are all super excited for the tournament,” junior Ronan Jachuck said. “We've had a great season so far and we've got a lot of momentum coming off the Ivy Championship that puts us in an excellent position to host the first two rounds.”

The tournament’s round of 64 kicked off with Harvard’s defeat of Siena College and the University of Illinois’s defeat of Arizona State University in Cambridge, Mass. today. Harvard and Arizona State will battle for a spot on Saturday to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.

The Crimson has had a stellar regular season — finishing 19-5 (7-0, Ivy) and ranked inside the top 15 in the International Tennis Association (ITA) Division I Collegiate Men’s Tennis rankings for the past 13 weeks.

Siena College entered the tournament with a 13-10 record. The Saints entered the MAAC Championships as the No. 3 seed and had a pair of upset wins against Quinnipiac and Fairfield to earn their first MAAC Men’s Tennis Championship in program history, and to punch its ticket to the NCAA tournament. The Saints are led by No. 1 singles player Dante Russo who has amassed 24 singles wins and 17 doubles wins this season.

The match between the Saints and the Crimson was the first meeting between the two teams in history.

The Scott Mead ‘77 Head Coach for Harvard, Andrew Rueb ‘95, sits in his fifth year at the helm of the team. In his time at Harvard, Rueb was also a standout player –– one of six players in the league’s history to be a two-time Ivy League Player of the Year –– and was inducted into the Harvard Varsity Club Hall of Fame in 2013.

“The real power of our team comes from our daily training,” Rueb commented. “Everyday work has given us confidence, and put us in the place we are in right now.”

“Our coaches encourage us to just focus on ourselves, and our commitment to our own games,” Jachuck added. “Rather than focusing on how I can counter my opponent, I play to my strengths and make sure that when the match gets close I still have the confidence in my game to go out there and execute.”

The Crimson is led by senior co-captain Harris Walker, accumulating an impressive 29-12 overall record. Walker, alongside fellow senior co-captain Henry von der Schulenburg (18-6) received first-team All-Ivy honors for singles play.

Walker and sophomore Daniel Milavsky earned first-team All-Ivy honors for doubles play, 9-3. Jachuck earned Second-Team All-Ivy honors for singles, finishing with a record of 6-1 in Ivy play. Jachuck and senior Steven Sun garnered Second-Team All-Ivy honors for doubles play, ranking up an 18-4 overall record.

“In tennis, it’s really easy to think you are just fighting for yourself. However, the love, community, and connectedness of our team make it really easy to get that extra motivation, to do the extra drill in practice, and to fight a little more in matches,” first-year Valdemar Palpe said.

“This is a close team. They have a lot of experience, and that gives us an extra edge,” Coach Rueb said. “They believe in each other — that kind of support, care, and love really does help propel us forward.”

In preparation for matches, the team spends time journaling through different scenarios, and preparing for different outcomes, in addition to intense physical training.

“We've shown many times this year that we're a team that's not gonna go away. Whether we're down a doubles point, we're down two sets in matches, we've come back to win,” Jachuck said. “I can look around, even if we've lost the first set, and know that my teammates aren't going to go away and that the second set is gonna be a battle.”

Harvard defeated Siena College this afternoon in an impressive 4-0 sweep at the Beren Tennis Center. The Crimson dominated in doubles play – No. 62 nationally ranked duo Daniel Milavsky and Harris Walker emerged victorious 6-3. Doubles powerhouse Ronan Jachuck and Steven Sun picked up their 19th win of the season after a decisive 6-0 win. Henry von der Schulenburg had one of the most dominant performances of the season, (6-0, 6-1), only losing one game in his straight-set win. Daniel Milavsky and Ronan Jachuck both triumphed over the Saints, finishing 6-2, 6-0, and 6-2, 6-3 respectively.

The Crimson will face off against Arizona State University tomorrow at 2:00 pm at the Beren Tennis Center for a chance to compete in the Sweet Sixteen.

— Staff writer Natalie T. Weiner can be reached at

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