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Men's Tennis Takes on Princeton in Battle of Ivy League Unbeatens

Denis Nguyen and the No. 19 Harvard men's tennis team will battle No. 50 Princeton for control of the Ivy League Friday (photo courtesy Gil Talbot).

The Particulars
The No. 19 Harvard men's tennis team continues its Ivy League dual schedule with its first league road contests of the season. The Crimson meets Ivy League leader, No. 50 Princeton Friday, April 13, and Penn Saturday, April 14. Both matches are scheduled for 2 p.m. Live scoring will be available for the match at Princeton. 

Series History
The Harvard-Princeton series was instituted in 1925, when the Crimson thwarted the Tigers, 9-0, in the inaugural meeting. Harvard has controlled the all-time series, 47-44, since then, but has split the last six spring matchups. Last season, the Crimson handed the Tigers a 5-2 loss. The 2012-13 fall season saw Harvard knock-off Princeton, 4-3, to claim third place at the ECAC Indoor Championship. 

Harvard has dominated its series with Penn since it began back in 1928. The Crimson leads the Quakers, 71-12, since that time and with a 6-1 victory in 2012 has won the last seven matches. Harvard is 44-1 against Penn since the 1975 season. 

Ivies In The Rankings
The Crimson got off to a strong start in the defense of its 2012 league crown when it defeated No. 40 Columbia, 4-3, and No. 48 Cornell, 6-1. Three of Harvard's remaining Ancient Eight foes are ranked in the ITA national rankings. The Crimson faces No. 50 Princeton this weekend, before concluding the year with No. 65 Yale and No. 70 Dartmouth. 

About The Crimson
Harvard is one of two remaining unbeaten teams in the Ivy League entering the weekend. It puts a nine-match winning streak on the line when it meets the other, Princeton, on Friday. The Crimson opened conference play with a perfect 2-0 mark by collecting wins over No. 40 Columbia, 4-3, and No. 48 Cornell, 6-1, last weekend. 

The Harvard doubles teams have found their rhythm as all three regular pairs boast winning records in dual play. The No. 1 tandem of Denis Nguyen and Casey MacMaster is ranked No. 55 in the latest ITA rankings and is 8-1 in dual matches this season. Andy Nguyen and Nicky Hu are 8-2 at No. 2, while Alex Steinroeder and Kelvin Lam are 5-1 in six matches as the third doubles team. 

Co-captain Andy Nguyen continues to be a force in singles with an 10-2 record at No. 4 and unblemished records at the second and third slots as well. Hu has done well for the Crimson with a 7-6 dual singles mark, including a 6-4 record at his usual No. 5 position. Shaun Chaudhuri is 7-8 at second singles this year and Steinroeder has seven singles victories to his credit this spring. Harvard is a combined 52-40 this season in singles play and an impressive 32-13 in dual doubles action. 

Scouting Princeton
The Tigers have amassed a 14-4 record and Ivy League-best 3-0 mark so far this season. Princeton is undefeated at home (7-0) and has won its last four matches, with three coming versus Ancient Eight competition. The Tigers are 2-1 against ranked opponents this year, having defeated No. 45 Cal Poly and No. 54 Yale and losing to No. 11 Pepperdine. 

Princeton will look to No. 8 Matija Pecotic, who is 9-3 at the No. 1 singles position, to get it rolling. On second court singles, Zack McCourt is 9-6. Pectoic and McCourt have paired up for a ranking of No. 46. The duo is 13-2 and undefeated in league play entering the weekend. As a whole, the Tigers are 39-10 in doubles play this year. 

Scouting Penn
The Quakers meet No. 70 Dartmouth Saturday, April 13, before hosting No. 19 Harvard Sunday. Penn rides a three-match losing streak into the weekend. The Quakers were edged on the road at Princeton, 4-3, fell to Brown, 5-2, and were blanked by Yale, 7-0. At 8-8, 0-3 Ivy, Penn is currently in eighth place in the Ivy standings. 

At 11-5, Ismael Lahlou carries the Quakers' best record into the weekend. Lahlou has seen the majority of his singles action on court three. Vim De Alwis is only one win behind at 10-4, but is an even 5-2 on courts five and six. Nikola Kocovic (5-9) and Jeremy Court (7-7) have shared time on the first and second singles courts. Kocovic has paired with several partners as the No. 1 doubles team for Penn, but is 3-12 in those matches. The Quakers are 9-7 and 7-7 on doubles courts two and three, respectively.

After This Weekend
Harvard will host Brown Friday, April 19, at 2 p.m. and travel to Yale for a Sunday showdown at the same time. The Crimson then closes out the regular season at Dartmouth Friday, April 27, at 2 p.m.