Outright Ivy Title At Stake For Men's Tennis against Brown, Dartmouth
Andy Nguyen looks to lead Harvard to its second straight outright league title (Photo: Dean Bauer).
With a share of the Ivy League title already clinched, the No. 22 Harvard men's tennis team looks to secure its 30th league crown outright when it hosts Brown Thursday in Cambridge. The match against the Bears was rescheduled from April 19. Harvard wraps up its Ivy slate with a road match against Dartmouth Saturday.
Salute To The Senior
Senior captain Andy Nguyen, the lone member of the class of 2013 on the team, will be playing the final home match of his career Thursday against Brown. Nguyen has been a staple in the Harvard lineup since his freshman year, playing both singles and doubles for the Crimson. As a freshman, he teamed with Alistair Felton '12 to earn second-team All-Ivy League doubles accolades and captured the ITA Northeast Regional doubles title. In his time with the Crimson, the team has posted a 20-6 record in league play and earned at least a share of two conference titles.
Last Time Out
A dominant doubles showing and strong singles propelled the Crimson past archrival Yale Sunday, allowing Harvard to move to 5-0 in league action and secure a share of the Ivy crown. Harvard's top two doubles teams of Denis Nguyen/Casey MacMaster and Nicky Hu/Andy Nguyen both recorded 8-5 wins to secure the 12th-straight doubles point for the Crimson.
The Crimson continued its dominance in singles play. Kelvin Lam razed Jason Brown, 6-2, 6-1, to give Harvard a point from singles court No. 6. Steinroeder added to the team total by topping Martin Svenning in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4, on court four and Shaun Chaudhuri picked up a point for Harvard when Powers retired from their match at No. 2 singles. But the match-clincher came from Nicky Hu on the fifth court, who subdued Zach Dean, 6-4, 6-2, to give the Crimson a share of the league crown.
Not only is the Crimson the top-ranked team in the Ivy League, Harvard is the only team ranked within the top 40 in the entire Northeast region. Riding a 12-match winning streak, the Crimson needs just one win in its next two matches to secure its 22nd outright league title and 30th overall. Should Harvard top both Brown and Dartmouth this weekend, it would secure the 20th perfect Ivy season in program history.
Doubles has been the driving force for the Crimson this season, as Harvard's top three tandems all boast winning records in dual action. The Crimson's top duo of Denis Nguyen and Casey MacMaster is ranked 52nd in the most recent ITA polls and boasts an 11-1 record this spring. Kelvin Lam and Alex Steinroeder are 7-1 as the third doubles pairing, and Nicky Hu and Andy Nguyen bring a 9-4 mark at No. 2 into the final weekend of regular season play.
Harvard has been strongest at the second, fourth and fifth singles positions this spring, spearheaded by senior Andy Nguyen who owns a 12-2 record at No. 4 and 15-3 overall dual record. The rookie Hu has held down the fifth position with an 8-5 record while singles specialist Shaun Chaudhuri holds a 9-5 record at No. 2 in 2013. Denis Nguyen has seven victories to his credit as Harvard's top singles player.
Brown boasts a solid 13-9 overall record but three-straight league losses to Princeton, Columbia and Cornell have it towards the bottom of the Ancient Eight standings with a 2-3 league mark. Brown's league wins came at home against Penn April 6 in its Ivy opener and against Dartmouth last weekend.
Junior Sam Fife has been a strong presence for the Bears of late, capturing victories in three of the last four Ivy matches at the third and fourth singles positions. Michael Riechmann is Brown's No. 1 singles player, and has successfully teamed with Fife at the No. 3 doubles position. No. 2 Michael Hill is 2-1 in three Ivy singles contests this spring.
The Big Green has played six of its seven Ivy matches already and brings a 1-6 league mark, along with a 9-13 overall record, into its showdown with the Crimson. Dartmouth stunned Columbia April 7 for its lone league win, topping the Lions 4-2 in Hanover. Dartmouth has dropped its last four matches, two of which were 4-3 finals.
Xander Centenari and Brandon DeBot make up Dartmouth's top doubles team, as the pair has a 9-5 dual match record, including a 5-5 mark on the first court. The Big Green has successfully used 10 different combinations at third doubles, posting a 9-5 record in dual matches at No. 3. Centenari has played the bulk of the singles matches on the first court and has compiled three wins, while six different players have combined to go 13-1 at No. 6 this spring, led by Brendan Tannenbaum at 4-0.
The 2013 NCAA Championships begin May 10-12 at campus sites. The winner of the Ivy League receives an automatic bid to the tournament.