PHILADELPHIA, Penn. – The Harvard men's tennis team (18-9, 6-1 Ivy League) clinched a share of its 29th Ivy League title and its first since 2013 with a 4-2 dual match win at Penn (14-11, 1-5 Ivy League). The win was Harvard's ninth in the last 10 matches, capping an impressive run to close out the regular season.
"A big congratulations to the team for all their work!" said associate head coach Andrew Rueb. "We came out of nowhere after finishing sixth in the ECACs in February to get our hands on the Ivy title. This is a special group - they just supported and loved each other every step of the way - through good times and bad. The were true students of the game - willing to experiment and learn at every turn. We couldn't be prouder."
The Crimson shares the league title with Cornell and Columbia, who both finished the season with matching 6-1 records in league play.
Harvard rallied back from an early deficit after dropping the doubles point, winning four of five singles matches to earn the win over the Quakers.
Jean Thirouin earned his team best 16th singles win of the spring season (16-4) to even the match at 1-1, winning in straight sets against Penn's Matt Nardella – 6-1, 6-0. Then at No. 6 singles, Christopher Morrow also won in straight sets – 6-2, 6-3 against Marshall Sharp.
Harvard earned its third point of the dual match after Andy Zhou clinched his match at No. 5 singles – 6-2, 6-2, against Max Cancilla.
Then at No. 2 singles, 121st-ranked Kenny Tao won his match 7-6 (4), 6-2 to set off a celebration at Hecht Tennis Center.
"It was a monumental effort today to come back after losing the doubles point to win four singles matches," Rueb said. "Jean, Chris, Andy and Kenny played very high level tennis to win those matches in straight sets."
With a three-way tie for first place, Harvard will await the next ITA rankings (highest ranked team) to see who will earn the Ivy League's automatic bid to the NCAA Men's Tennis Championship. The DI Men's Tennis Selection Show will take place on May 2 at 5 p.m. and can be viewed on NCAA.com.
1. Rapoport/Wetergaard (Penn) vs. No. 62 Yeung/Tao (Harvard), unfinished
2. Mautner/Nardella (Penn) def. Beltrame/Thirouin (Harvard), 6-3
3. Spratt/Pompan (Penn) def. Morrow/Weber (Harvard), 6-3
1. Kyle Mautner (Penn) def. Sebastian Beltrame (Harvard), 6-1, 6-4
2. No. 121 Kenny Tao (Harvard) def. Josh Pompan (Penn), 7-6 (4), 6-2
3. Jean Thirouin (Harvard) def. Matt Nardella (Penn), 6-1, 6-0
4. Nicholai Westergaard (Penn) vs. Brian Yeung (Harvard), 6-4, 6-5, unfinished
5. Andy Zhou (Harvard) def. Max Cancilla (Penn), 6-2, 6-2
6. Christopher Morrow (Harvard) def. Marshall Sharp (Penn), 6-2, 6-3