April 6, 2007

Tennis Faces Harvard

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The Ivy League season kicks into full gear today for the men’s and women’s tennis teams, as the men will try to repeat last year’s big win over Harvard, while the women hope to snap the Crimson’s four-season Ivy League winning streak of over 28 matches. Both squads will also take on Dartmouth tomorrow.
The women will host Harvard today at 2 p.m. at Reis Tennis Center, and Dartmouth tomorrow at noon. The men are on the road for the second weekend in a row, playing against the Crimson at 2 p.m. at the Murr Center in Cambridge, Mass., today and against the Green at 2 p.m. tomorrow in Hanover, N.H.
The men’s team (12-4, 0-1 Ivy) is coming off a closely contested 5-2 loss to Columbia, in which three deciding singles matches were played out over three sets. The Red hopes to get back on track this weekend against Harvard in the Crimson’s Ivy season opener.
“They haven’t played any matches yet, but Harvard’s always a tough opponent of ours,” said senior tri-captain Dan Brous. “Last year we beat them for the first time in 46 years; it was definitely our win of the year. We’re going to their place this time, and hopefully we can do what we did last year.”
On Tuesday the Crimson (5-7, 0-0 Ivy) defeated B.U. by a score of 7-0, sweeping all the singles and doubles matches in the process. Harvard also had a recent loss to No. 70 Santa Clara in a tight, 4-3 match. The Red narrowly overcame Santa Clara, 4-3, over Spring Break, and Brous expects another thriller with Harvard.
“The difference in that match was one point here or there,” Brous said. “The match against Harvard will be an absolute battle. We just have to go out there and leave it all on the court.”
The Dartmouth men won their match last weekend over Williams, 5-2. So far this spring they have posted a 15-3 record, but they have yet to play an Ivy match.
“We haven’t lost to Dartmouth in four years, but they’re the best they’ve been since I’ve been here,” Brous said. “We’ll have to play good tennis to get the victory.”
If all goes well, Brous will resume his spot at No. 3 in the singles lineup; the senior suffered a back injury after the first set of his match against Columbia’s Marty Moore.
“I’ve been going to the trainer all week and getting better, but we’ll see how it feels after doubles,” Brous said. “If I feel good enough, I’ll play singles, but there’s a chance I won’t.”
The women are just as eager to take on the Crimson and the Green on their home turf. The Red (8-2, 1-0 Ivy) is riding a wave of confidence after taking out Columbia, 6-1, last weekend.
“All the time when we’re in practice, we know what we want to do,” said sophomore Tammy John. “We want a good Ivy ranking and a good national ranking. Tennis is an individual sport, but we’re all going to work toward the same goal. It helps to look to your teammates on the court next to you and cheer each other on. Knowing that we have a chance and that we’re good, you never know what can happen.”
The Harvard women (2-11, 0-0 Ivy) are the defending Ivy champs and have not lost a league match since their 2001-02 season. The Crimson began its spring season with a No. 22 national ranking, but it has steadily slipped to No. 61 in the past two months due to a series of losses.
“Harvard is not as great as they were in the past, but obviously they’re still a great team and No. 1 in the Ivy League,” John said. “They lost a few good players in the lineup for different reasons — school problems, sickness, injury. Still, we have to take them very seriously because they have depth, and not just in their top players. We have our work cut out for us.”
The Dartmouth women, who have posted an 8-5 record in non-league play, are coming off a 7-0 loss to Boston University.
“Dartmouth is playing very well this season,” John said. We’re expecting a tough match there, too. They have some strong recruits, and they’re a good team to beat this year. Our team is playing really, really well right now. We’re working together really well; we know we’ve worked so hard, and we want it. We’re going to fight hard and it doesn’t matter who we’re playing.”
John also mentioned that almost everyone on the women’s team has added support in parents who will be attending the matches this weekend.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how well we matchup,” John said. “It’ll be exciting no matter what.”