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Women's Tennis Ends Season with 4-3 Loss to Harvard

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By Mark Washburn
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HANOVER, N.H. — In a match that couldn't have been closer, Harvard reversed last year's 4-3 loss in Cambridge by edging the Dartmouth women's tennis team 4-3 on Saturday at the Boss Tennis Center and Gordon Pavilion. Junior co-captain Sarah Leonard (Norwalk, Conn.), sophomore Sabrina Stewart (London, England), and freshman Theresa Smith (University Park, Fla.) got singles wins for the Big Green. The Big Green end the season with an 8-13 record and a 2-5 mark in the Ivy League. The Crimson conclude their year with an 11-7 record (4-3 Ivy).

Harvard won all three doubles matches as junior Jeri Reichel (Hilton Head Island, S.C.) and freshman Akiko Okuda (Tenafly, N.J.) fell in a hotly contested match 8-6 at No. 1 to two-time first-team All-Ivy picks Kristin Norton and Hideko Tachibana. Sophomore Rachel Decker-Sadowski (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and freshman Janet Liu (Palo Alto, Calif.) lost 8-3 at No. 2, and sophomore Melissa Matsuoka (Newport Beach, Calif.) and Smith lost 8-3 at No. 3.

In singles, Smith put the first put on the board for the Big Green with a convincing 6-2, 6-2 win over Natalie Blosser at No. 4. Okuda then fell 7-6, 6-3 at No. 3 to Camille Jania, who was 11-2 in singles this year. Leonard avenged her 2011 loss at No. 1 singles to Hideko Tachibana, the 2010 Ivy League Rookie of the Year, winning 7-6, 6-1. Liu then fell to Kristin Norton at No. 2, 6-4, 6-4. With Harvard leading 3-2, Stewart evened the score by defeating Samantha Gridley, 6-1, 1-6, 7-6 at No. 5. In the deciding match, No. 6 Decker-Sadowski had a 5-4 third set lead, but her opponent saved two match points to ultimately win a nail-biter 1-6, 7-5, 7-5.

Harvard 4, Dartmouth 3

1. Sarah Leonard defeated Hideko Tachibana: 7-6, 6-1
2. Janet Liu lost to Kristin Norton: 6-4, 6-4
3. Akiko Okuda lost to Camille Jania: 7-6, 6-3
4. Theresa Smith defeated Natalie Blosser: 6-2, 6-2
5. Sabrina Stewart defeated Samantha Gridley: 6-1, 1-6, 7-6 (4)
6. Rachel Decker-Sadowski lost to Kelly Whelan: 1-6, 7-5, 7-5

1. Jeri Reichel/Okuda lost to Tachibana/Norton: 8-6
2. Liu/Decker-Sadowski Whelan/Blosser: 8-3
3. Melissa Matsuoka/Smith lost to Gridley/Jania: 8-3