Crimson Continue to Roll with Wins over Virginia Tech and BU
The Crimson improved its overall mark to 7-1 on the season with a nail-biting win against the Virginia Tech Hokies last Saturday, followed by a double-header victory against the BU Terriers later in the evening. The team takes the show on the road this weekend to Hanover, NH for the ECAC Tournament. Harvard will face off against rival Yale on Friday night at 6pm in the quarterfinals. The Crimson is seeded first and will have some strong competition with great parity in the league this year. Click here for the weekend schedule and draw for the ECAC Championships in Hanover, NH.
Last Saturday against Virginia Tech, the Crimson raced out to an early lead with its best doubles performance of the season. MacMaster and Felton at #1 leapt out to an early lead and never took their foot off the gas, finishing first 8-5. Denis Nguyen and Andy Nguyen took a while to get the engines going but finished with a flurry to win 8-5. Schultz and Steer managed to gut out a win in a tiebreaker, embodying Brad Gilbert's phrase, "Winning Ugly." With the doubles point in hand, the tough work was yet to come.
In singles, it was clear from early on that Virginia Tech had more firepower and experience at the top of the line-up while Harvard was stronger at the back. Virginia Tech's top two players were the best we've seen this year with complete arsenal of shots, great defense and finishing power. Pearlman and Denis Nguyen fought valiantly but fell in straights at #1 and #2 respectively. At the back of the line-up, Schultz and Chaudhuri continued their winning ways with solid outings at #5 and #6. Schultz attacked relentlessly to force his Hokie opponent to pass off his weaker one-handed backhand. He would go on to win 6-3, 6-2 while Chaudhuri notched a business-like win, 6-4, 6-3, at #6. With the match in the balance, and Harvard up 3-2, the outcome was in the hands of two frosh. Henry Steer, from Bernardsville, NJ at #4, won the first set with a combination of power and consistency, but dropped the second set to an increasingly confident foe. At # 3, Alex Steinroeder from Concord, MA found himself down 6-3, 3-0 (at which point his junior coach, Laury Hammel, left the building!). Steinroeder continued to scratch and claw his way back into the match – finding solutions on the fly – against a veteran Hokie opponent who had no apparent weakness. What he discovered was that by attacking the net and pushing the pace of play, his unflappable opponent started to miss. Of course, the execution of this plan is easier said than done. He was able to resurrect himself in the second only to fall behind 5-3 in the third, facing a match point on his serve at 30-40. With a service winner to the T to stay alive, he went on a tear to go up 6-5 in the last set. Steer continued to scrap and claw but faltered late falling 6-4 in the final frame, which left everything up to Steinroeder at #3. With all eyes on his court, he rose to the occasion, pumping in four service winners to polish off the Hokies and send his teammates racing onto to the court to mob him in celebration. It was a great clutch performance that was a great reward for all the hard work the team has put in on their games this year.
Off to Hanover and more adventures…
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Thanks for all your support!
E. Scott Mead Family Head Coach of Men's Tennis
Harvard University Dept of Athletics
65 N. Harvard St.
Boston, MA 02163