NORMAN, Okla. – A dominant doubles performance and a big singles win by a first-year member of the team propelled the No. 28 Harvard men's tennis team past No. 30 Notre Dame, 4-3, Saturday afternoon at the ITA Kickoff Weekend. The win means the Crimson will take on the winner of the match between Memphis and host Oklahoma Sunday in the event final.
It was Harvard's third doubles team that set the tone for the first part of the match, as rookie Nicholas Mahlangu teamed with sophomore Alex Steinroeder for an efficient 8-0 blanking of Ryan Bandy and Matt Dooley. The remaining two doubles pairs were challenged with the task of clinching the doubles point, and the No. 1 duo of senior Casey MacMaster and sophomore Shaun Chaudhuri took care of business. The top pair took down the veteran duo of Greg Andrews and Spencer Talmadge, 8-5, to bring doubles play to a close.
Having to claim four singles matches for the victory, Notre Dame started off on the right foot, as the first two singles points went the way of the Fighting Irish. Harvard freshman Kelvin Lam dropped a 6-2 6-2 decision to Ryan Bandy at No. 6, and Quentin Monaghan took down rookie Nicky Hu, 6-4, 6-4, in the third spot.
The junior co-captain MacMaster stepped up for the Crimson at fourth singles, edging out a 7-5 win in the first set and following with a 6-2 win in the second to defeat Billy Pecor and draw the match even at 2-2. Steinroeder was next to finish in the No. 2 spot, and the sophomore put the Crimson within one point of the win with a 6-4, 6-3 defeat of Blas Moros.
After the big win in doubles, Chaudhuri couldn't clinch his singles match at the No. 1, despite pushing the match to three sets. The Irish's Andrews claimed the first set, 6-3, before Chaudhuri battled back for a 7-5 win in the second. Andrews took control of the match in the third, recording a 6-0 win in the set and tying the match score at 3-3. It all came down to the rookie Mahlangu at fifth singles and after dropping the opening set, 6-4, Mahlangu fought back for a 7-6 (5) win in the second-set tiebreaker. The freshman dug deep in the final frame and pulled out a 7-5 win to clinch the match for the Crimson.
Harvard will play in the event final Sunday beginning at 12 p.m. CT (1 p.m. EST) against the winner of the Memphis/Oklahoma match.
Score: Harvard 4, Notre Dame 3
1. Chaudhuri/MacMaster (Harvard) def. Andrews/Talmadge (ND), 8-5
2. Hu/Nguyen (Harvard) vs. Lawson/Pecor (ND) (dnf)
3. Mahlangu/Steinroeder (Harvard) def. Bandy/Dooley (ND), 8-0
1. Greg Andrews (ND) def. Shaun Chauduri (Harvard), 6-3, 5-7, 6-0
2. Alex Steinroeder (Harvard) def. Blas Moros (ND), 6-4, 6-3
3. Quentin Monaghan (ND) def. Nicky Hu (Harvard), 6-4, 6-4
4. Casey MacMaster (Harvard) def. Billy Pecor (ND), 7-5, 6-2
5. Nicholas Mahlangu (Harvard) def. Wyatt McCoy (ND), 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-5
6. Ryan Bandy (ND) def. Kelvin Lam (Harvard), 6-2, 6-2