Thursday, April 26, 2007

Harvard Men wind up Ivies with a solid victory over Dartmouth - The Curse Reversed!

Harvard Men wind up Ivies with a solid victory over Dartmouth  - The Curse Reversed`

As the old saying goes, "It's not how things begin but how they end that counts." Coming off a first round loss at the Fall Eastern Championships (ECACs) to Manhattan with a depleted and injured squad, the Harvard men came on strong during the spring to finish on a high note.  Along the way, while narrowly missing an Ivy title by the slimmest of margins (one third set tiebreak), they defeated Stanford for the first time ever 5-2, took six out of possible seven doubles points in the Ivy season, and notched a decisive win over Ivy co-champion Columbia.  At season's end, they had compiled a winning match record (singles and doubles) equaled only by the other Ivy co-champion (Penn) in total wins (32) in the regular season Ivies, and two more than the other co-champion Columbia. 

We've been joking about wanting to win a 4-3 match, and today we did it, and in a way that created no new gray hairs for me…

The Dartmouth match went our way from the start.  Valkin and Hayes at #2 and Nguyen and Burke at #3 took their doubles by solid margins, but Ermakov and Kumar never quite got out of bed at #1.  Harvard 1-0.

Valkin, moved up to #3, made short work of Jeff Schecter. Harvard 2-0. Clayton did the same at #1.  Harvard 3-0.  Ermakov sealed the win at #5 to give Harvard an insurmountable lead.  Harvard 4-0.

Dan Nguyen pulled something in his back in the second game, and had to limp through the rest of the match.  He still made it close, losing by only a break a set. If he had to get hurt, his timing, like his backhand crosscourt, was impeccable. 4-1 Harvard.  Kumar's season ended on a disappointing note, as he lost narrowly 7-6 in the third.  4-2 Harvard. Freshman Michael Hayes, hot off two wins, was given a dose of his own medicine by Dartmouth's hot freshman Tzou, who seemed to miss only three of numerous winners he went for.  Everything he touched was golden.  Fortunately, with the match being played on five courts (it's a great location in the middle of campus, but they can't fit a sixth court…), Hayes didn't have to take the court until the match was well in hand.  4-3 Harvard.  The Curse Reversed!

With the season behind us, once on the bus, this team decided to let down their hair and eat all the stuff they had been avoiding throughout the season at a great truck-stop.  Spaghetti, onion rings, French fries, fried chicken, frappes (term in the northeast for what others call milk shakes with ice cream…a dietician's nightmare, but it sure tasted good at the end of this season! 

Ivy Notes:
Columbia, as we thought might happen, defeated Penn 4-2 at Columbia to tie with Penn with a 6-1 record.  Columbia and Penn will have a playoff this weekend to see which team represents the Ivies in the NCAAs.  What a year for the Ivy League!  Such great depth.

May the best team win!

David Fish
Head Coach of Men's Tennis
Harvard University Dept. of Athletics
Murr Center
65 N. Harvard St.
Boston, MA 02163-1012
Phone: 617.495.2695/Fax: 617.495.2700
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