The No. 13 Crimson stayed hot in Ivy League play as it extended its win streak to five after securing two victories in Cambridge this weekend. After a tough-fought 5-2 victory over No. 39 Princeton and a dominant 5-0 victory over No. 42 Penn, Harvard remains a perfect 5-0 in Ivy League play and 6-0 at home this season.
“We’re feeling good,” said junior Steven Sun. “They were two really good teams. We're feeling like we’re in a good spot to secure the [Ivy League] title right now.”
The Crimson (15-4, 5-0 Ivy League) returned home after a road trip to face Columbia (12-6, 2-1) and Cornell (16-6, 3-1) in New York last weekend. Harvard handed both teams their first conference losses of the season.
“Beating Columbia and Cornell was huge,” said Sun. “Columbia has been one of our biggest rivals for the past few years, so beating them especially after a few years without Ivy play was big. Cornell is a great team too, so [the weekend] was really big for our standing in Ivy play.”
The Crimson had a strong start to their Saturday match against Princeton (17-7, 3-2) as it won the first point of the match in doubles play. The second-seeded doubles team of sophomore Ronan Jachuck and junior Harris Walker got Harvard’s first win of the day with a 6-3 victory, and sophomore Henry von der Schulenburg and Sun secured the first point for the Crimson with their 6-3 victory at the three seed.
Jachuck added Harvard’s first point in singles play with a 6-2, 6-3 victory at the four spot. Von der Schulenburg, the top-seed, grabbed another point for the Crimson with a 7-6 (2), 6-3 win. The Tigers managed to stop the bleeding, securing their first point of the day at the five spot in a 6-4, 6-4 victory over first-year Daniel Milavsky. Sun sealed the victory for Harvard with a well-fought 6-0, 3-6, 6-1 win in his sixth-seeded matchup. Princeton senior Karl Poling got the Tigers their second point of the match in a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 win over senior Brian Shi. Walker tallied the final point for the Crimson in an exciting 6-1, 7-6 (12-10 tiebreaker) as the two-seed.
Less than 24 hours later, Harvard handled business in a decisive 5-0 fashion against a strong Penn (17-5, 4-1) squad. Heading into Sunday’s match, the Crimson and the Quakers were the only two teams in the Ivy League without a conference loss this season.
“The mindset heading into the match against Penn was to take care of business,” said Sun. “ It’s always hard to come off of a big win and get it done again, but I think we did a really good job of taking it one game at a time.”
Again at the three seed, von der Schulenburg and Sun started the action for Harvard with a 6-2 win over the Quakers. While the top-seeded team of Shi and Milavsky fell 4-6, Jachuck and Harris secured the doubles point for the Crimson with a close 6-4 win.
Singles play for Harvard was smooth sailing as von der Schulenberg, Walker, Jachuck, and Sun all won their matches in straight sets to seal the match for the Crimson.
With its victory over Penn, Harvard is left as the sole undefeated team in the Ivy League. Its recent win also marks a five-game win streak. The Crimson looks to tap into that momentum as they conclude regular season play in the coming week and prepare for the NCAA Regional Championships on May 6 through May 8.
“We’re really excited,” said Sun. “We have a great opportunity, if we win these next two, to end the season undefeated. We’re gonna keep taking it one match a time and keep taking care of business every day.”
Harvard wraps up regular season play this weekend against Brown (9-13, 0-5) in Providence, RI on Friday, April 22 and Yale (9-11, 1-4) back at home in Cambridge on Sunday, April 24.