Coming off a solid win against Penn (16–8, 0–3 Ivy League) a week ago, the Princeton men’s tennis team (15–7, 2–1 Ivy) came back for more in a two-game home stand over the weekend. Their Ivy League opponents, Dartmouth (12–6, 1–1 Ivy) and Harvard (15–5, 2–0 Ivy), were both ranked ahead of the Tigers coming in to weekend play, but that didn’t seem to discourage them — Princeton was able to beat Dartmouth 6–1 on Saturday and then fell to Harvard in a tight 4–3 loss on Sunday.
“It’s a game of inches, and we’re all pretty evenly matched,” head coach Billy Pate said. “Even the Dartmouth match, although though we won 6–1, it was really a close match.”
Dartmouth, ranked No. 39 in the nation, were the favorites heading into Saturday’s match, but early on it was clear that Princeton was no pushover. To start the day in doubles, Princeton sophomore Ryan Seggerman and junior Payton Holden won 6–3 against Dartmouth’s Charlie Broom and David Horneffer, who were ranked seventh in the nation. This win would set the tone for the Tigers’ performance the rest of the day. After sweeping the doubles matches, Princeton went on to win five of six singles matches, with four of them being in straight sets. Freshman Karl Poling went on to defeat 53rd-ranked Broom 7–5, 7–6, and the sophomore Seggerman defeated Horneffer 6–4, 6–4. Junior Davey Roberts in the fourth singles slot capped off the day with a three-set win over Dartmouth’s Peter Conklin.
There was not much time to celebrate, however; a matchup against No. 45 Harvard awaited the Tigers less than 24 hours later.
“We enjoyed [the win], but we knew we needed to get back to work. [Harvard and Princeton] know each other really well, and we knew their strength has been the 3–4–5 [singles] part of the lineup,” Pate said.
Princeton was a little too overpowered by those 3–4–5 players mentioned by Pate. After losing a tight doubles session 1–2, it was up to the singles players to win four of six matches in order to claim the victory. The Tigers’ one and two singles players, Karl Poling and Ryan Seggerman, were able to come out with victories, but the rest of the team fell to the Crimson. In the fourth singles slot, Davey Roberts won the first set and was up in the second, but by then Harvard had already secured the victory. Roberts would end up losing 10–4 in a ten-point tiebreaker that replaced a third set.
“If we were able to get the doubles point, it would have changed the whole complexion of the match,” Pate said. “I feel pretty confident Davey [Roberts] would have won had the match been on the line.”
Princeton will see its last home game on Friday against No. 9-ranked Columbia before embarking on a three-game road trip to end league play.