Kelly Whelan and the Crimson challenge Boston University and Furman at the Murr Center this weekend (photo courtesy Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Boston University and Furman travel to Cambridge this weekend, as the Harvard women's tennis team continues its non-conference schedule. This weekend's matches are the third and fourth contests of five consecutive home duals for the Crimson.
The Crimson (1-3), which is No. 67 in the Feb. 16 edition of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings, starts the weekend on a three-game losing skid after falling to No. 51 Maryland, 4-3, No. 54 Boston College, 5-2, and No. 71 Syracuse, 4-3. Harvard has been strong in doubles play during the dual season, taking at least two of three doubles matches in all but one contest. Kristin Norton and Hideko Tachibana have been the catalyst thus far on the doubles side. The pair of juniors, ranked No. 23 in the latest ITA poll, is off to a 3-1 start during dual matches and sit at 10-3 overall in 2011-12.
In singles, Camille Jania (3-0) and Samantha Gridley (3-1) lead the Crimson with three wins apiece. The two bring undefeated 3-0 records at No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, into the weekend. Jania and Gridley have also joined forces to go 3-1 in doubles competition.
Last Time Out
Harvard nearly defeated Syracuse while clinging to a 3-2 lead, but a pair of third-set tiebreakers went the Orange's way to knock off the Crimson Feb. 12 at the Murr Center. The Crimson started the match strong, taking two-of-three doubles contests to gain a 1-0 advantage, but fell in four of six singles contests. Kristin Norton won at No. 2 singles and Camille Jania added a victory at No. 3 for Harvard.
The Terriers (4-0) are off to an undefeated start during the dual season having taken down Army, Buffalo, St. John's and UMBC. In its last contest, BU rolled past UMBC, 6-1, as the Terriers won thirteen of fifteen sets Feb. 12. Freshman Sami Lieb was the most dominant winner for BU, taking her match in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0, in the No. 6 spot.
Furman (2-4) has played a challenging schedule in 2012, having competed against four teams ranked in the top 75 during the dual season. The Paladins are 9-27 (.250) in singles, led by Margaret Boyette's 3-3 mark at No. 4, and 4-14 (.222) on the doubles side. Amanda Murray and Michele Stanford have combined to be Furman's most successful doubles tandem with a 2-4 record in the No. 3 position.
Harvard culminates its five-match home stretch against St. John's March 10.