MacMaster and his teammates look to earn the first win of the season (photo courtsey: Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The No. 25 Harvard men's tennis team continues its 2014 season with a trip out to Minnesota Feb. 8-9. The Crimson will face the No. 39 Golden Gophers on Saturday at 3 p.m. and No. 34 Tulsa at noon on Sunday.
Last Time Out
The then-No. 26 Harvard men's tennis team opened up its season at the 2014 ITA Kickoff Weekend where the Crimson narrowly fell to No. 13 Mississippi State, 4-3, before dropping a 4-0 decision to No. 18 South Carolina. Behind the efforts of No. 17 ranked duo Denis Nguyen and Casey MacMaster and tandem Nicky Hu and Brian Yeung, Harvard was able to claim the doubles point against Mississippi State. Nguyen, the 44th-ranked player in the ITA singles poll, and rookie Andrew Ball each earned victories over their Bulldog opponents.
Related Link: No. 26 Men's Tennis Stalled by No. 13 Mississippi State, No. 18 South Carolina
About No. 25 Harvard
Harvard captured its second straight Ivy League title in 2013 after posting an almost perfect 6-1 league record. The Crimson took home its second consecutive title at the Mission Valley Spring Classic while also qualifying for the NCAA tournament for the second time in as many years. In the first round of the tournament, Harvard took down Stamford, 4-0, before falling to tournament host No. 10 Mississippi State. Five student-athletes took home seven All-Ivy nods, the most for the men's tennis team since 2008.
In the Feb. 4 ITA Rankings, Harvard was tabbed 25. The Crimson is the highest ranked Ivy League school in the poll, with Columbia being the next closest at No. 40.
Related Link: ITA Division I Men's National Team Rankings
Ivy League Digital Network
For the first time ever, eight of Harvard's home matches will be streamed in HD quality featuring a live scoreboard and a new graphics package through the Ivy League Digital Network. Subscribers to the network can watch matches both live and on-demand at their convenience, and will have access to live and on-demand content for all Harvard athletics events throughout the duration of their subscription.
Related Link: Harvard Tennis Announces Live Stream For Select Home Events
Despite losing senior co-captain and second team All-Ivy honoree Andy Nguyen, Harvard returns 11 letterwinners from a squad that posted a 6-1 league record to secure the Ivy Crown a season ago. Four of the five Crimson student-athletes that garnered all-conference status during the 2013 campaign return, including D. Nguyen, who was unanimously selected to the first team in both singles and doubles. D. Nguyen's double partner, Macmaster was also a unanimous first team selection while Chaudhuri garnered first team honors and Steinroeder was tabbed second team in singles.
The Crimson added three freshmen to the roster for the 2014 season. Andrew Ball, Beltrame and Yeung form the class of 2017. The three rookies hail from California, Florida and China.
Related Link: Men's Tennis Welcomes Three Freshmen to the 2013-14 Roster
Senior Casey MacMaster and junior Alex Steinroeder have been selected to lead the Crimson in the 2014 season. MacMaster was part of the No. 1 doubles pairing with D. Nguyen that went 13-2 in dual matches, while Steinroeder finished the 2013 campaign with a 19-14 record in singles between tournaments and dual matches.
Leading the Way
Dave Fish, the Scott Mead '77 Family Head Coach for Harvard Men's Tennis, returns for his 38th season at the helm of the Crimson. In the past 37 completed seasons, Fish has posted an impressive 608-277-1 overall record to become the winningest men's tennis coach in Harvard history.
Andrew Rueb '95 is back for his seventh season with the men's program. Prior to the start of the 2013-14 campaign, Rueb was promoted from the team's assistant coach to associate head coach. Rueb, a two-time Ivy League Player of the Year at Harvard, has guided the Crimson to a 101-46 record.
Related Link: Rueb Promoted to Associate Head Coach for Men's Tennis
Taking a look at No. 39 Minnesota
Minnesota has had a strong start to its season and enters the weekend with a 4-2 record. The Golden Gophers started their dual with two losses to No. 22 Oklahoma State, 4-1, and No. 16 Notre Dame, 4-3. Victories over Brigham Young University, Wisconsin-Green Bay, Marquette and Arkansas have the squad back to its winning ways, and Minnesota will face off against Tulsa Friday before facing the Crimson Saturday.
Series History: Golden Gophers
Harvard and Minnesota will meet for the fourth time in program history, and for the first time since 2004. The Crimson holds a slight, 2-1, advantage over the Golden Gophers. In 2003, Harvard fell to Minnesota, 4-3, before coming back the following season to take a 4-3 decision.
Scouting No. 34 Tulsa
Through nine matches this year, Tulsa holds a 5-4 record. The Hurricanes started the season off with four big wins over Oral Roberts (7-0), Wichita State (4-0), Drake University (4-1) and Illinois State (6-1) followed by three tough losses to Northwestern, Virginia Tech and Pepperdine. Tulsa toppled Washington, 4-3 before most recently falling to Tennessee, 4-3.
Series History: Hurricanes
Harvard and Tulsa first faced off during the 1983 season when the Crimson toppled its opponent, 7-2. Since then, the Crimson has captured four of its five meetings to claim a 4-1 edge in the all-times series. Tulsa's lone victory came in 1996, with the last three matches ending in Harvard's favor.
Harvard will continue its spring season Feb. 14-16 when the Crimson split up to compete at the National Team Indoor Championship in Houston, Texas and the ECAC Team Championships in Hanover, N.H.