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Season Recap: Women’s Tennis Season Highlighted by Trip to NCAA Tournament

Despite not having any seniors on the team and just two juniors on the roster, the Harvard women’s tennis team finished second in the Ivy League and earned a birth to the NCAA Tournament. Under third year head coach Traci Green, the Crimson compiled a 14-8 overall record with a 6-1 mark in Ivy League contests.

In the fall, Harvard competed in six tournaments, including hosting the Harvard Fall Classic and the Harvard Invitational at the Beren Tennis Center. To kick off the fall, the team traveled to Williamsburg, Va., to compete in the 17th Annual William & Mary Invitational. Harvard captured championships in three of the five singles flights, which was a good indication of how the rest of the fall would go.

At the Harvard Fall Classic, the Crimson swept both of the singles flights while capturing a first-place finish in the doubles competition. Harvard competed in the US Air Force Invitational as well as the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center Invitational, held at the home of the U.S. Open.

Several members of the team participated in the ITA Northeast Regional Indoor Championship, held at Yale University, Oct. 23-26. Sophomore Holly Cao captured the title after defeating Casey Herzberg of Brown, 6-2, 6-2. 

The Harvard Invitational served as the final test for the team in the fall season. The Crimson hosted participants from Brown, Cornell and LSU in a three flight tournament that saw all Harvard competitors pick up at least one win. 

The Crimson opened the dual season with a 7-0 sweep of cross-town rival Boston University. The win snapped a three-match losing streak to the Terriers and was also the first time since 2006 since Harvard won its season opening match. 

Trips to Texas, Illinois, Florida and California gave the young squad ample opportunities to grow and bond as a team. Harvard traveled to Waco, Texas, for the ITA Kickoff weekend, hosted by Baylor University. The Crimson lost its opening round match to No. 5 Baylor, 4-0, but picked up a 4-1 win over Nevada in the consolation match.

The Crimson defeated its second Boston rival of the season with a 6-1 win over Boston College.

Harvard hosted the ECAC Championship at the Murr Center Tennis Courts. In the opening round match, the Crimson cruised past Cornell, winning 6-1, setting up a match-up with Yale in the next round. Yale claimed the doubles point and went on to win five of the six singles matches to pick up a 6-1 victory. Harvard placed third in the tournament after a 4-2 win over Princeton.

In its first of three consecutive weekends on the road, the Crimson dropped consecutive 5-2 contests to Purdue and No. 39 Illinois. Harvard split its matches in Florida, picking up a 6-1 win over Central Florida before falling to South Florida, 5-2. During spring break, Harvard traveled to California for three matches. After falling to Cal, 7-0, in its first match out west, the Crimson rebounded and concluded its trip in the Golden State with wins over St. Mary’s and Fresno State

Harvard opened up Ancient Eight play with wins over the New York Ivies, including a 7-0 sweep of Columbia at home. In its first conference road matches, Harvard fell to Princeton, 5-2, before rebounding with a 7-0 win over Penn. Harvard would not lose again in the regular season as the team recorded wins over Brown, Yale and Dartmouth en route to a 6-1 mark in conference play.

With the conclusion of the regular season, the conference coaches voted on All-Ivy recipients. Freshman Hideko Tachibana was a unanimous decision for Ivy League Rookie of the Year, while four others were named to the All-Ivy teams. Tachibana posted a 14-6 record in dual matches, including a 6-1 mark in conference play, at the No. 2 singles spot. She wrapped up her freshman campaign by winning seven of her final eight matches.

Cao was also named to the Ivy League first-team as she tallied 15 wins this season. Cao and junior Samantha Rosekrans were named to the doubles first-team after recording a 5-2 mark in conference matches. Freshman Kristin Norton garnered second-team honors and the duo of Tachibana and Norton was named to the doubles second-team. 

With a No. 39 national ranking, the team returned to the NCAA tournament for the 14th time in program history and the first time since 2006. Harvard traveled to Clemson, S.C., and faced No. 19 Georgia in the first day of competition. Harvard faced tough competition and fell, 4-0.

For the ninth consecutive season, the Crimson sent a representative to the NCAA Individual tournament, as Holly Cao faced Northwestern’s Maria Mosolova in the opening round of 64.

All nine members of this years squad return next season, along with the addition of three incoming freshman. With Rosekrans and Cao captaining the team next year, Harvard looks to improve upon this years success and return to the post-season tournament for the 15th time.