Women’s Tennis Rallies Comeback, Stuns No. 11 Clemson, 4-3
He's win at No. 4 lifted the Crimson over the Tigers (photo courtesy Athletic Communications).
CLEMSON, S.C. – Trailing 3-0, the No. 68 Harvard women's tennis team scored four straight points to earn a 4-3 comeback non-conference victory over No. 11 Clemson Friday afternoon at the Hoke Sloan Tennis Center.
The win marks Harvard's (6-2) first over a top-15 opponent under the guidance of head coach Traci Green, while Clemson (7-2) had its three-match win streak snapped and this season's perfect home record broken.
On the afternoon, four of the six singles matches went the distance. Doubles play also pushed both teams to the limit with all three matches needed to determine a winner.
Doubles action on court two finished quickly as the Crimson's No. 2 pair of junior Sylvia Li and freshman June Lee dropped an 8-1 decision to Tristen Dewar and Romy Koelzer to begin the day. As doubles action on court two finished, the score was deadlocked on court three, at 4-4. Sophomores Amanda Lin and Amy He traded points with Yilynn Miao and Jessy Rompies and knotted the score at seven, before Harvard's tandem came away with an 8-7 victory to even the match at 1-1.
At No. 1, the 48th-ranked duo Spencer Liang and Monica Lin held a 4-3 lead over Yana Koroleva and Beatrice Gumulya, who rank 55th in the nation, at the midway point. The Crimson couldn't hold on for the win as the Tigers pair went on to score five of the next six points to earn the doubles point for Clemson.
As the teams shifted over to singles play, the tight contests continued with neither team willing to budge.
Clemson picked up two quick points at the No. 6 and No. 5 spots to hold a 3-0 advantage. At the sixth position, Li was stumped by Joana Eidukonyte, 6-0, 6-0 while A. Lin fell to No. 85 Dewar, 6-1, 6-0 at Harvard's fifth spot.
With the match on the line and three ranked opponents on the opposite side of the net versus the Crimson, Lee marked the first tally in the win column for the Crimson. The freshman took down 54th-seeded Koelzer, 6-2, 6-4 to keep Harvard alive.
The Crimson rallied behind Lee's victory as the winning momentum trickled to the first and second courts. After dropping the first set, 2-6, Liang and Koroleva teetered back and forth. Trailing 5-3 in the second set, Harvard's ace battled back to down the 40th-best singles player in the nation, 7-6, to force a third set. Liang didn't waste any time in the third set as the freshman went on to a 6-2 victory.
Classmate Monica Lin followed suit as the freshman evened the match with her seventh straight singles victory. The Schaumburg, Ill., native knocked off No. 90 Gumulya, 2-6, 7-6, 6-4 at No. 3.
With the match evened, all eyes were on He and Yuilynn Miao on court four. He dropped the first set, 5-7, and won the second, 6-1, to set the stage for the team's dramatic comeback. He secured the upset comeback for Harvard with a 6-2 decision in set three.
Harvard takes a month off before its spring break to the Golden State which features three matches over five days at Cal State Northridge, San Diego State and Long Beach State.