Friday, March 22, 2013

#20 Harvard Tennis: News and Court Views - and how 'bout Harvard Hoops! Wow!

#20 Harvard Tennis:  News and Court Views


In this issue:

Crimson vs. Hoosiers

Harvard vs. Louisville

Harvard downs BU in Doubleheader

Cracking the top 20 (#17)

Alumni Shout Out

Back to School Week

Twitter/San Diego Spring Break


Crimson vs. Hoosiers (Saturday, March 2nd)

With a win against Northwestern in early February, the Harvard men were looking to go 2-0 this year against the Big Ten.   It was a tall order given that Indiana had beaten us in three previous meetings.  But this year's squad was up to the challenge and set the tone early in doubles.  Our top duo of Casey MacMaster and Denis Nguyen dropped an early break and were not able to catch up in the short 8 game pro set.  Still, it was a game effort for Casey, only two days after being diagnosed with pneumonia, but at least it gave us a chance to win at #2 and #3. Fortunately, Steinroeder and Lam got on an early roll at #3 and closed it out 8-4 – leaving the match tied with captain Andy Nguyen and Nicky Hu at #2.  Andy and Nicky play excellent position doubles with lots of darting, finishing volleys at the net.   Andy has a huge forehand return that has the opposing net man quaking in his shoes while Nicky wields an electric one-handed backhand that lights up the courts.  They pulled out a big 8-6 win, leaving us up 1-0 with singles to follow. 


The singles would prove another war.   Andy Nguyen would draw first blood by tallying a win in the fourth position, putting us up 2-0 with still a long way to go.    Indiana would fire back with wins at #2 and #3, as Chaudhuri and Steinroeder fell in straight sets.  Harvard and IU each needed two to win, with three matches on court.    Top dog Denis Nguyen would rally from a poor second set to capture the third set 6-3 and move us closer to the goal line.   It was up to the freshmen with Nicky Hu and Kelvin Lam on court at #5 and #6 respectively.   Hu was able to wear out his opponent and lock down the win 6-2 in the third while Lam suffered a loss in the third set tiebreaker.    Harvard 4 Indiana 3.  It was a nice win and good feeling to finally down the Hoosiers.   But there was little time to celebrate with Louisville on deck the next morning. 


Crimson vs. Cardinals (Sunday, March 3)

It would be another barnburner at the Murr.  It doesn't seem to stop for the Crimson who seem to love to battle. The doubles promised again to be critical, but appeared ready to slip out of our grasp…  MacMaster/D. Nguyen would rally from yesterday to post a stellar performance at the top spot with an 8-5 win – bolstering their record in dual matches to 4-1.  With Andy Nguyen and Nicky Hu serving for the match at #2, and up 30-love, everything seemed to be falling in place, before the Cardinals dug in to rattle off the next three games to snatch a 9-7 victory.   This left the doubles point resting on the shoulders of Alex Steinroeder and Kelvin Lam, trailing 6-3.   The Crimson duo reveled in the excitement of being the last men standing - rattling off six of the last seven games to win 9-7!   The energetic tandem uses the well-tested formula of low returns, consistent first serves and lots I-formations to their best advantage.   


Once again, the doubles made the difference.  The matches at the back half of the line-up would be decided first.  Owing to our depth, our results this season at the 4-6 positions have been stronger than 1-3.  Yet, on this day, Louisville would capture straight sets wins at #4 and #6 with freshmen Nicky Hu providing the lone win.  This left the match all square at 2-2 with the top three singles on court.  Denis Nguyen was in a dogfight against a very strong opponent at #1 and entering the third set while Alex Steinroeder was down a break in the third (at #3).  Shaun Chaudhuri was having a slow, methodical battle up a set and a break at #2.    Things were slipping away from Alex when volunteer assistant Eric Butorac arrived on court to provide life support.  With a jolt of confidence and new outlook, Steinroeder would surge past his opponent to win 6-4 in the third.   Shaun would provide the final piece of the puzzle, finishing off his opponent in straights to clinch the win for the Crimson.  With the outcome already determined, Denis would fall in a match tiebreaker. 


Alumni Shout-Out
We would like to thank our alums and supporters who came out to watch us at the Murr.  Big props to Mitty Arnold, Todd Meringoff, Adam Valkin, Mike Libert, Alex Seaver, Frank Ripley, and Scott Denenberg (and anyone else we might have missed) for showing their colors. 


Harvard downs Terriers 6-1

The weekend was still not over.  Later on Sunday, the Crimson squared off in the second half of their double header against BU.   There were some gritty performances by Henry Steer, Conor Haughey and Brendan Seaver (with blisters galore).  


Cracking the Top 20

With all the great wins this season (Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Notre Dame) in addition to our most recent victories, we were catapulted to #17 in the rankings.   Our high last year was #16.  These efforts reflect well on the team's hard work, professionalism, and character.     Read the gocrimson article here.  


Back to School Week

Click here to read all about Rueb's new coaching initiative that has been making waves on Harvard campus.  The two week long program encouraged coaches to go "Back to School" and attend class with their students for a day.  It was a great way to bring the faculty, students and coaches together.   See photo of Coach Fish with Prof. John Stauffer and Alex Steinroeder.  John is the head of the American Civilization Department and a renowned scholar on Fredrick Douglas.   Prof. Stauffer played tennis at Duke and is one of "faculty fellows" of the Harvard Tennis Team. 


Twitter/Spring Break

If you want to get hip to the new media – we encourage you to follow us on Twitter #HMTofficial.  You'll never have to send out a "tweet" yourself.  There are lots of great videos, photos, live match updates as well as an inside look into the team.   You can follow us on spring break in La Jolla this week with our daily updates. 

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
GoCrimson Men's Tennis website
Harvard Men's Tennis blog

No comments: