Sophomore Christo Schultz and the rest of the Harvard men's tennis team will look to rebound from its second loss of the season when it hosts Penn and Princeton this weeekend. (Gil Talbot)
No. 24 Harvard men's tennis team will welcome its first Ivy League opponents to the Beren Tennis Center this weekend when Penn and Princeton come to Cambridge Mass., with matches slated for Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Last Time Out
Harvard opened up Ivy League play on the road last weekend first traveling to Ithaca N.Y. on Saturday and New York City on Sunday to play Cornell and Columbia.
On Saturday Harvard handled the Big Red, 7-0, after going 2-1 in doubles play while sweeping singles competition 6-0. Jonathan Pearlman, Denis Nguyen, Christo Schultz, Shaun Chaudhuri, Alex Steinreoder and Henry Steer all recorded wins against Cornell opponents, helping Harvard to improve to 17-1.
Columbia proved to be a tougher test from the Crimson as the No. 37 Lions upset the No. 24 Crimson, 5-2. Harvard got off to a good start, going 2-1 in doubles action as Alistair Felton and Casey MacMaster defeated Max Schnur and Ashok Narayana, 8-5, from the No. 1 slot. Harvard got it done in the No. 2 spot as well as Pearlman and Schultz took down Nathaniel Gery and John Yetimoglu, 9-8 (8-6). The two wins gave Harvard a 1-0 leading going into singles competition. Winston Lin evened the match at 1-1 as he defeated Pearlman in the No. 1 slot, but Nguyen put Harvard back in the lead in the No. 2 position, downing his opponent, Haig Schneiderman, 6-4, 6-2. The Lions took control from then on as it took the last four matches, to defeat Harvard 5-2.
The Quakers enter the weekend at 9-7 and 1-2 in the Ivy League. Penn recorded its first Ancient Eight victory over No. 54 Brown this past weekend as it took down Bears 4-3. It has suffered Ivy League defeats to Yale and Princeton as well this season.
The Quakers' Ivan Turudic has primarily battled out of the No. 1 spot for Penn and has accrued a 3-9 record. The Quakers have gotten a majority of its wins through the No. 4 through No. 6 spots as they have a combined 33-15 record in those three positions, compared to a 21-27 mark in the No. 1 through No. 3 slots.
In Doubles play it's been Nikola Kocovic and Turudic that has been most successful for the Quakers. The Duo who plays out of the No. 1 position have secured an 8-5 record thus far and has been the primary source of doubles wins for Penn.
The Tigers enter the weekend sitting with a 12-8 mark overall as well as 3-0 record in the Ivy League. Princeton opened Ancient Eight play against Penn on March 31, defeating the Quakers 4-3 and has since reeled off two more Ivy League victories, downing Brown, and Yale, both by the score of 4-3.
Matija Pecotic has been nearly automatic for Princeton from the No. 1 position this spring, as he has recorded an eye-popping 15-2 record from that position. The Tigers have also gotten good production from the No. 4 through No. 6 slots as the positions have a combined record of 36-22 for the Tigers.
In doubles action the duo of Matt Siow and Matt Spindler has been the go-to team for the Tigers as the tandem has recorded a 7-7 record and competed primarily out of the No. 1 position.
Harvard has been downright dominant against Penn through its programs history. The Crimson is 70-12 against the Quakers since the series started in 1928. Harvard is currently on a six-game winning streak against Penn dating back to 2008. The last time these two teams met was last season, when Harvard downed the Quakers, 5-2.
When it comes to its Ivy League rival from New Jersey, Harvard holds a slight edge in the series history. The Crimson is 46-44 against the Tigers. However Harvard has recently hit a bit of a losing skid against Princeton as the Tigers have bested the Crimson the last two meetings, beating the Crimson, 6-1 and 4-3 the last two seasons.
Rank and File
While Harvard suffered its second loss of the season, the squad still managed to stay in the top 25, as it only dropped four spots from its previous ranking of 20. The Crimson, who has impressive victories over No. 19 San Diego and No. 43 Vanderbilt, came in No. 24 in yesterday's rankings.
Harvard is enjoying possibly its most successful season to date as the team has started the dual season 17-2. It has already matched the win totals set back in 2008 and 2005 and 2002 as those teams went 17-8, 17-7 and 17-6, respectively. If Harvard is able to win its next five matches, it will match the program's second-highest win total of 22, set back in 2004.
While Harvard has enjoyed the contributions of its veterans, namely Jon Pearlman, Christo Schultz, Alistair Felton and alike, it has really been buoyed by the production from its freshman class. So far this season Harvard has seen four of its six singles slots filled by the class of 2015. In those roles, Harvard freshman, Shaun Chaudhuri, Denis Nguyen, Henry Steer and Alex Steinroeder, have accrued a 51-16 record in dual matches this season.