Women's Tennis Tops Howard In Historic Match

Women's Tennis Tops Howard In Historic Match

The Harvard women's tennis program tops Howard in first meeting in program history. 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Expanding its non-conference schedule beyond regional opponents, the Harvard women's tennis team opened the 2018 spring season with a historic 7-0 win over Howard University on Friday afternoon.

"I've known the legendary Howard University tennis coach, Larry Strickland, since I was a junior tennis player," says The Sheila Kelly Palandjian Head of Women's Tennis Traci Green. "We talked about our teams playing each other, and we were thrilled we were able to make it happen.

"Howard University and Harvard University are two of the most prestigious institutions in the country with rich histories of both academic and athletic excellence. There is a long list of highly successful historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) alumni, such as Thurgood Marshall, Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, and Oprah Winfrey.

"To see Harvard play Howard and to see our student-athlete compete and share tennis as a sport was a fantastic and very meaningful way to kick off out spring season.

Many of our student-athletes were not aware of the storied history behind HBCU, and this match up also provided our student-athletes the opportunity to learn about an important part of history. We hope this relationship continues to grow into other programs." 

The women's tennis team is the second Harvard program to put Howard on its schedule. In 2013, the two institutions' men's basketball programs began playing each other when Harvard made the trip down to the nation's capital. The Crimson and Bison have played each other, on the basketball court, two other times since.  

Starting in 2019, the two institutions football programs will begin a three-game series. But, for Green and the women's tennis program, this match marked a beginning of what is expected to be a tremendous relationship going forward.

The Crimson set the tone of the match with a sweep of doubles. Senior Annika Ringblom and freshman Anna Li earned their, team-leading, eighth doubles win defeating the Bisons' Nathalie Finch and Kindha Nasef, 6-2. Maryland native, sophomore Irene Lu and freshman Jenna Moustafa took second doubles from Christina Joynes and Sajela Harlow by an identical, 6-2 score.

In the singles portion of the day, Ringblom led Harvard once again, blanking Harlow, 6-0, 6-0 in third singles. Lu earned her 10th singles win of the year following a two-set, 6-2, 6-2, victory over Nasef, while freshman Jenna Friedel held off a late charge by Finch in first singles. 

Fellow freshman Neha Gupta defeated Aria Ragas in fifth singles, 6-1, 6-3, to pick up her 12th win of the year.

Harvard Highlights

  • Senior Annika Ringblom and freshman Anna Li picked up their eighth doubles win as partners with a 6-2 win first doubles.
  • Freshman Neha Gupta improved to 12-0 in singles with a fifth singles win over Aria Ragas.
  • Sophomore Irene Lu earned her 10th singles victory following a two-set win in second singles.

Match Notes

  • This match marked the first time in both schools' history the two institutions, Harvard and Howard, met on the tennis courts.