HANOVER, N.H. – The Dartmouth women's tennis team beat #53 Harvard 4-3 in dramatic fashion on Senior Day for captain Melissa Matsuoka, as Jacqueline Crawford overcame a 4-1 third set deficit to win the deciding match 7-6, 4-6, 6-4.
The Big Green ends the season with an 8-9 record and finishes fourth in the Ivy League at 4-3. Harvard is now 11-8, and the Crimson's 3-4 Ivy League record earns them fifth place.
Dartmouth was narrowly edged in the doubles point as Julienne Keong and Suzy Tan won at Number three, but Harvard won at number one and number two. In a riveting match that had fans on the edge of their seats, Dartmouth battled back to win four of six singles matches against a Harvard team whose freshman class was ranked number five on TennisRecruting.net.
The Crimson put the first singles put on the board to take a 2-0 lead as Amanda Lin downed Julienne Keong at number six Katherine Yau quickly responded with a 6-1,6-3 victory at number one over blue-chip freshman Spencer Liang. The Crimson went up 3-1 as Matsuoka fell at number four, but Taylor Ng won her sixth Ivy League match at number two to make the score 3-2.
Akiko Okuda evened the score up with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Harvard senior Hannah Morrill at number five, leaving the deciding match up to Crawford. Crawford was in the process of battling back in the second set from a 4-1 deficit, but her rally fell short as she dropped the second set 6-4. The Crimson's blue-chip freshman June Lee raced to a 4-1 lead in the third set, but Crawford would not be denied. After breaking Lee to make the score 4-2, Crawford won 15 of the last 16 points, crushing serves and winners en route to a 6-4 third set victory.
"This was a tremendous team effort and Jacqueline really battled back to pull out the deciding match for us today," said head coach Bob Dallis. "This win was a great way to send Melissa out on Senior Day. It's fitting that her freshman year ended with a win over Harvard to take the 2011 Ivy League title, and now she finishes her Dartmouth career with a win at home with another 4-3 win over Harvard.
"Melissa has shown outstanding leadership in helping us attain a 4-3 record in an exceptionally strong Ivy League this year, in which four of the league's teams were nationally ranked inside the top 50. We're going to miss her a lot, and Dave Jones and I want to thank her for everything she's done for the women's tennis program."
1. Katherine Yau def. Spencer Liang 6-1, 6-3
2. Taylor Ng def. Monica Lin 6-2, 6-4
3. Jacqueline Crawford def. June Lee 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-4
4. Amy He def. Melissa Matsuoka 6-0, 6-3
5. Akiko Okuda def. Hannah Morrill 6-3, 7-5
6. Amanda Lin def. Julienne Keong Si Ying 6-0, 6-2