Cleveland State Visits Women's Tennis Sunday in Spring Opener

Cleveland State Visits Women's Tennis Sunday in Spring Opener

Hannah Morrill is one of two juniors on Harvard's team this year (Harvard Athletic Communications). 

Scene Setter
The Harvard women's tennis team gets its spring season underway with a match against Cleveland State Sunday at 2 p.m.

Last Time Out
Harvard wrapped up its fall schedule by hosting the Harvard Fall Invitational. Kristin Norton, Amanda Lin and Hideko Tachibana all won singles flights, while Norton teamed with Amy He and Lin partnered with Sylvia Li to win the doubles flights. Li, Hai-Li Kong and Crystal Yen all placed second in the two-day event for the Crimson.

Related Article: Women's Tennis Wins Three Singles Flights and Both Doubles Flights at Harvard Fall Invitational
Related Video: Harvard Fall Invitational Recap

About Harvard
The Crimson finished the fall with a collective 53-29 record in singles matches and a 20-13 mark in doubles matches. Freshman Amanda Lin paced the team with a 10-2 record, winning the C Flight at the Columbia Invitational and the Orange Flight at the Harvard Fall Invitational. Classmate Crystal Yen went 8-3 and won the D Flight at the Columbia Invitational. Senior co-captain Hideko Tachibana ended the fall at 6-2 after claiming the top spot in the Blue Flight at the Harvard Fall Invitational and making the quarterfinals of the USTA/ITA Northeast Regional. Kristin Norton, also a captain, went 4-1 and won the Green Flight at the Harvard Fall Invitational. In doubles play, the tandem of Sylvia Li and Lin went 7-1, winning the Karina Guenther Flight at the Tribe Invitational and the Harvard Doubles Flight at the Harvard Fall Invitational.

Related Video: Season Preview

Season Openers
Harvard looks to win its fourth consecutive season opener after knocking off UMass, 6-1, last year at the Murr Center. The Crimson is 3-2 under head coach Traci Green in season openers, winning the last three after dropping the first two. It will also be the seventh consecutive year that the Crimson has started its spring slate at home, visiting Boston University to kick off the 2005 campaign.

Preseason Ranking
Harvard sits at No. 74 in the Jan. 3 edition of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Women's Team Rankings after ending last year at No. 72. Yale is the highest ranked Ivy League team, coming in at No. 28, while Brown (No. 64), Princeton (No. 71) and Columbia (No. 73) are also in the rankings. 

Home, Sweet Home
Including the contest against Cleveland State, Harvard will play 15 of its 20 matches at home this spring, including the first nine matches of the season. The Crimson hosts Commonwealth rivals Massachusetts (Feb. 9), Boston College (Feb. 23) and Boston University (March 1) and Ivy League foes Pennsylvania (April 13), Princeton (April 14), Yale (April 21) and Dartmouth (April 27) among the 20-match schedule.

Harvard's five road contests consist of trips to Florida to play Stetson (March 19) and South Florida (March 20), New York to take on Cornell (April 5) and Columbia (April 6) and Rhode Island to battle Brown (April 19).

About Cleveland State
Expectations are high for the Vikings entering the 2012-13 season with six upperclassmen and just one freshman on the squad, which went 16-9 overall and 7-1 in the Horizon League last season. CSU advanced to the finals of the Horizon League Tournament for the second consecutive year; however, the team fell to Illinois Chicago to just miss qualifying for the NCAA Tournament. Alexandra Bush and Alex Power are expected to be the top two players on the squad, while 2012 All-Horizon second-teamer Maria Lazaris will round out the top half of the lineup.

Series History
This is the first meeting between the two programs.  

Captains of the Ship
Seniors Hideko Tachibana and Kristin Norton return as co-captains for their final campaign in Cambridge. Tachibana finished 6-2 in singles in the fall, while Norton went 4-1. The pair also teamed up and took second in the 'A' doubles flight at the Columbia Invitational before falling in the opening round of the Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championship. Both Tachibana and Norton posted 4-3 marks in Ivy League singles play last season.

Back Again
In addition to the two captains, Harvard brings back three other members from last year's squad that went 11-7 overall and 4-3 in the Ivy League. Hannah Morril and Natalie Blosser both return for their junior seasons, while Sylvia Li is the lone second year on the squad. The coaching staff also returns head coach Traci Green for her sixth season with the Crimson and her assistants are Pavle Jefferson and Debbie Goldfine.

Fresh Faces
The tennis squad welcomed in a quartet of freshman for the 2012-13 season. Amy He, Hai Li Kong, Amanda Lin and Crystal Yen all joined the squad prior to the start of the fall campaign. Lin won the 'C' flight at the Columbia Invitational, besting teammate Sylvia Li, 6-4, 7-5, and she teamed with sophomore Sylvia Li to take the Katrina Guenther Doubles Flight at the Tribe Invitational. Kong won the Cherle Dow Singles Flight at the Tribe Invitational to up the total number of tournament titles for the class of 2016 to three. Overall, the group has combined to go 23-9 in singles play in its inaugural season of intercollegiate competition.

Up Next
Harvard continues its nine-match homestand to begin the year by entertaining William & Mary Jan. 25.