Freshman Casey MacMaster has won five straight singles matches (photo courtesy Gil Talbot).
The men's tennis team (12-8, 1-1 Ivy League) goes on the road for its first away Ivy League contests of the season. The Crimson will face No. 63 Penn Friday and take on first-place No. 59 Princeton Saturday.
Harvard holds a commanding lead in the all-time series over Penn, 69-12. The Crimson has won 42 of the last 43 matches between the two teams dating back to 1975. Last season's dual went to Harvard via a 7-0 sweep.
Princeton and Harvard have met 88 times, with the Crimson holding the edge in the all-time series, 46-42. The Tigers topped Harvard earlier this season, 6-1, in the third-place match at the ECAC Indoor Championship. The Crimson won both meetings last season, 6-1 and 5-2.
Harvard has won five of its last six matches heading into this weekend's competition, including last week's Ivy League split. Doubles has been the Crimson's strength, winning the point in nine of its last ten matches. Harvard is 19 doubles matches above .500 as a team in dual competition, and 31 matches above .500 for the year. The pair of Alistair Felton and Andy Nguyen leads the team with 19 victories. Casey MacMaster is currently on a personal five match winning streak in singles and holds a 12-2 record in dual play this spring.
No. 63 Penn (12-3, 1-2 Ivy League) went 10-1 in its pre-Ivy League non-conference slate, but Yale and rival Princeton gave the Quakers problems, handing Penn two straight Ancient Eight losses to open league play. The Quakers most recently defeated Brown, 4-3, Saturday for their first Ivy League win.
The No. 59 Tigers (10-5, 3-0 Ivy League) enter the weekend atop the Ivy League standings. Princeton has won three in a row, snapping a short three-match losing streak it experienced at the Hilton Mission Valley Spring Classic in San Diego. The Tigers suffered losses to Denver and UAB in California, during the San Diego Tournament, two teams that Harvard defeated.
Last Time Out
Harvard split its Ivy League opening weekend with a 5-2 win over two-time Ivy League champion Columbia, and a close, 4-3, loss to Cornell. A powerful performance by the doubles squad and the Crimson's top singles players allowed the Harvard men's tennis team to skate by the Lions, 5-2. It all came down to the most unlikely of matches against Cornell, the No. 6 singles spot. With the dual tied at three points apiece and the match knotted up at one set each, No. 49 Cornell's Evan McElwain pulled away for a 6-3 set, match and dual win to down No. 70 Harvard, 4-3.
The Ivy League season continues April 15 and 17 when the Crimson heads out on the road to take on rival Yale, then returns home for its final home match of the season, taking on Brown. Both matches start at 2 p.m.