Saturday, March 05, 2011

Harvard Men's Tennis: happened, happening now, and will happen - our U.S. Tour

Harvard Tennis U.S. Tour

Where are we now?

I'm writing today from banks of the swollen Ohio River in a guest room of Orme "Sandy" Wilson '75 who is graciously hosting our team for the weekend matches in Louisville, KY. Sandy was member of the Harvard Team in the early 70s and was John Ingard's college roommate. He has continued to stay involved in tennis both as an adult player where, ten years after graduating, he finally admits to understanding what Jack Barnaby was talking about back in Cambridge, and as the former President of the Kentucky Tennis Association. It was a thankless job that he loved. He relayed to us an anecdote from one particularly contentious 3.5 NTRP women's captains meeting, when an irked player stood up and demanded to know how much money Sandy was raking in as President, to whom he responded, "You could cut my salary in half or double my salary and it would still be the same thing."

The Men's Team has come to Louisville to compete against Ball State and the top 20 ranked U. of Louisville Cardinals. We are in the hometown of Louisville Slugger, Muhammed Ali, and Churchill Downs on our first road trip of the spring season. We have nearly everyone back to health (almost) and are looking to see how some new doubles pairings will play out over the weekend.

Where are we going?

After the Kentucky weekend, we return to the Murr Center at Harvard to compete next Friday, March 11th at 5pm against Binghampton, the ECAC runner-up, in our last match before spring break. The next morning the Boston Boys will swing west to La Jolla, CA for a much needed break from Boston's snowiest winter in recent memory. For any alums in the CA area, we are hosting a welcoming BBQ at the swanky Rancho Vallencia Resort and Spa on Sunday afternoon (please send Dave or I and email if you are interested in coming). On Monday, March 14th we will drive to the desert to watch the pros play at Indian Wells (hopefully to see volunteer assistant Eric Butorac as well as James Blake in action!). The weeklong trip culminates in an 8-team tournament on Thursday-Saturday hosted by San Diego State and USD.

Where have we been?

Last weekend the Crimson Netters fought hard to defend their previous two titles at the ECAC Championships, only to fall short in the semifinals against the top-seeded Cornell Big Red. We snuck past Brown 4-3 with a dramatic, but convincing, third set win by sophomore Andy Nguyen with everything hanging in the balance. Against a veteran Cornell team (with four starting seniors), we didn't have the horsepower to stay even as we were missing our two seniors – Aba Omodele-Lucien (shoulder) and Alexei Chijoff-Evans (pneumonia). Rarely a challenger in the past for Ivy Championships, Cornell has turned their program around and will be a top team for years to come. It is not your same old Ivy League. While tough to see the ECAC trophy leave Cambridge, it has only served to spark the boys into re-doubling their commitment to bringing the highest level of energy possible in practice and in matches. It will be nice to enter April without a target on our backs!


Dave Fish
E. Scott Mead Family Head Coach of Men's Tennis
Harvard University Dept of Athletics
Murr Center
65 N. Harvard St.
Boston, MA 02163

No comments: