No. 2 Oklahoma Ends No. 31 Men’s Tennis’ NCAA Run With 4-0 Final
Harvard finishes the 2014 season with a record of 18-7 (Harvard Athletic Communications).
NORMAN, Okla. – Playing in its third straight NCAA second round, the No. 31 Harvard men's tennis team was unable to knock off No. 2 Oklahoma on its home courts, dropping a 4-0 decision to the Sooners Sunday. Harvard ends its season with an impressive 18-7 record.
It was a doubles showcase on all three courts against the Sooners, as the hosts managed to grab the opening point by the narrowest of margins. Harvard's top team of Casey MacMaster and Denis Nguyen showed its NCAA at-large selection to the doubles draw was well warranted, blasting past Axel Alvarez and Dane Webb by a score of 8-5. The second court featured a bevy of spectacular points, but a late break pushed Oklahoma's Guillermo Alcorta and Andrew Harris past Brian Yeung and Nicky Hu, 8-6. It was a battle for the ages on the third court where Christo Schultz and Sebastian Beltrame battled back to force a tiebreaker at 7-7. Both sides had a handful of match points in the tiebreaker, but a big serve and clutch return from the Sooners gave them the deciding point in an 8-7 (10) finish.
The energy dipped a bit as Harvard hit the courts for singles play, but a number of Crimson players were able to find their rhythm and challenge their opponents. Sebastian Beltrame ran into a buzz saw in seventh-ranked Alvarez at second singles, and the rookie dropped a 6-0, 6-1 match, giving Oklahoma a 2-0 match lead. Nguyen also had a tough hill to climb in his match against fifth-ranked Alcorta, and the Sooner senior bested Harvard's top player, 6-2, 6-2 to put the hosts within one point of the match victory.
Junior Alex Steinroeder provided hope for the Crimson on the fourth singles court, picking up an early break and holding on in a first set tiebreaker to grab the opening frame, 7-6 (4). Brian Yeung also reached a tiebreaker in the first set at fifth singles, but his opponent, Austin Siegel, took the breaker, 7-4, putting Yeung down a set. Nicky Hu dropped the first set at sixth singles, but managed to squeeze out a second set win against Alex Ghilea just before the match was decided. Siegel stepped on the gas in the second set against Yeung, clinching the match with a 7-6 (4), 6-0 final. Hu, Steinroeder and Shaun Chaudhuri (No. 3) were unable to finish their matches before the contest reached a decision.
Harvard now looks to the NCAA singles and doubles tournaments, where Nguyen will represent the Crimson in the singles field and Nguyen and MacMaster will challenge for All-America accolades in the doubles draw.
1. Guillermo Alcorta, Oklahoma (26-7) def. Denis Nguyen, Harvard (21-9), 6-2, 6-2
2. Axel Alvarez, Oklahoma (35-7) def. Sebastien Beltrame, Harvard (22-13), 6-0, 6-1
3. Dane Webb, Oklahoma (29-6) vs. Shaun Chadhuri, Harvard (19-12), 7-5, 3-2 unfinished
4. Andrew Harris, Oklahoma (22-6) vs. Alex Steinroeder, Harvard (19-9), 6-7 (4-7), 2-2 unfinished
5. Austin Siegel, Oklahoma (22-11) def. Brian Yeung, Harvard (21-10), 7-6 (7-4), 6-0
6. Alex Ghilea, Oklahoma (12-7) vs. Nicky Hu, Harvard (12-9), 6-3, 5-6 unfinished
1. Nguyen/MacMaster, Harvard (22-10) def. Alvarez/Webb, Oklahoma (1-1), 8-5
2. Alcorta/Harris, Oklahoma (2-0) def. Hu/Yeung, Harvard (21-12), 8-6
3. Ghilea/Papac, Oklahoma (1-0) def. Beltrame/Schultz, Harvard (14-5), 8-7 (12-10)