Alex Steinroeder looks to lead the Crimson to an ECA Team title this weekend in Hanover, N.H. (Photo: Dean Bauer)
Coming off of two victories over top-40 teams, the Harvard men's tennis team looks to test its mettle against a slew of Ivy League talent this weekend at the ECAC Men's Tennis Championship, hosted by Dartmouth. The Crimson brings a 2-2 mark into this weekend's action.
Last Year's Event
Riding a two-match winning streak into the event, the Crimson went 2-1 over the weekend to claim third place. Facing Yale in the first round, wins on the second and third doubles court gave Harvard the first point and singles victories by Denis Nguyen at No. 1, Nicky Hu at No. 5 and Casey MacMaster at No. 6 lifted the Crimson to a 4-2 win. The following day, the doubles went to Cornell, and singles wins from Alex Steinroeder and MacMaster proved to not be enough in a 4-2 loss to the Big Red. The third place match pitted the Crimson against Princeton and two doubles wins coupled with singles wins on the third, fourth and fifth courts powered Harvard to a 4-3 win.
Last Time Out
Looking for its first dual win of the season, the Crimson winged to Minnesota for matches against No. 39 Minnesota and No. 34 Tulsa. In the opener against the Gophers, Harvard managed a win on the second doubles court but losses at one and three put the Crimson in a 1-0 hole. The Crimson singles players took over from there, however, led by No. 44 Denis Nguyen on the top court with a 6-4, 6-4 win. Brian Yeung and Alex Steinroeder brought Harvard to within one and rookie Andrew Ball clinched the match for the Crimson, posting a 6-3, 6-5 (9) win at sixth singles for the 4-3 win.
The following day's match against Tulsa started in similar fashion, with the Crimson dropping two of three doubles matches to relinquish the opening point. Ball and Steinroeder quickly put the match in Harvard's favor with wins at six and five, respectively, and a win from Sebastiene Beltrame at No. 4 brought the match score to 3-3. Nguyen, battling 2013 NCAA singles semifinalist Japie De Klerk at No. 1, prevailed in a 6-5, 5-6, 6-3 thriller to clinch the win for Harvard.
Friday, February 14
Match 1 - No. 3 Dartmouth vs. No. 6 George Washington, 4:30 pm
Saturday, February 15
Match 2 - No. 2 Columbia vs. No. 7 Princeton, 9 am
Match 3 - No. 4 Cornell vs. No. 5 Brown, Noon
Match 4 - No. 1 Harvard vs. No. 8 Penn, 3 pm
Sunday, February 16
Match 5 - Match 1 Loser vs. Match 2 Loser, 8 am
Match 6 - Match 3 Loser vs. Match 4 Loser, 11 am
Match 7 - Match 1 Winner vs. Match 2 Winner, 2 pm
Match 8 - Match 3 Winner vs. Match 4 Winner, 5 pm
Monday, February 17
Match 9 - Consolation Match No. 1, 8 am
Match 10 - Consolation Match No. 2, 11 am
Match 11 - Match 7 Winner vs. Match 8 Winner, 2 pm (Championship)
The Ivy League boasts a number of strong teams this season, as evidenced by teams' records and players ranked nationally. Besides Harvard (2-2) and Penn (0-2), all other squads hold records over .500, led by Dartmouth, which owns a 7-1 mark. However, at No. 25, Harvard enters the tournament as the league's highest ranked team. Here are the Ivy League players within the national ranks:
10. Ashok Narayana and Max Schnur, Columbia
14. Denis Nguyen and Casey MacMaster, Harvard
34. Sam Fleck and Chris Vrabel, Cornell
45. Augie Bloom and Jonathan Carcione, Princeton