The Princeton-Harvard rivalry couldn't have gotten any closer than it was in 2013, when the two teams split a pair of 5-4 matches. The latter went to third-seeded Harvard Saturday, as Gary Power's 3-2 win over Dylan Ward at No. 4 will send the Crimson to the Potter Cup championship match.
The victory capped a dramatic final shift of competition, when Princeton trailed 4-2 and faced the monumental deficit of topping undefeated Harvard junior Ali Farag simply to stay in the match. Princeton senior Todd Harrity, the 2011 CSA national champion, showed he was up for the challenge, though; in a showdown of the last two national champs, Harrity earned his first win over Farag with a 3-1 victory.
That match, followed by a 3-0 win by freshman Vivek Dinodia at the No. 7 position, evened the team match at 4-4 with one to play. Power, the former Harvard No. 1, found himself trailing Ward, who has twice scored the clinching point in regular season wins over the Crimson, by a 2-0 score. The Crimson veteran battled back for three tight wins to send the Crimson into Sunday's championship match against top-seeded Trinity, a 7-2 winner over Yale.
Princeton led 2-1 after the first shift, which opened with a 3-0 win from sophomore Tyler Osborne at the No. 3 spot. Harvard got a win at No. 9, but Princeton's Taylor Tutrone earned the biggest win of his career by grabbing the final two games at No. 6 for a 3-1 win over Tom Mullaney.
Unfortunately, it would be a while before Princeton got back on the board. The Crimson swept the middle shift, taking nine of the 10 individual games. A pair of marathons went Harvard's way, and both proved crucial; Samuel Kang dropped the second game at No. 2 by a 16-14 score, while David Hoffman lost the decisive fourth game at No. 8 by a 17-15 score.
Those losses left Princeton with no margin for error, but it nearly pulled off the same dramatic rally that it did when trailing Trinity 4-2 in the 2012 national championship match. While the Tigers went 3-for-3 that day, they managed only two Saturday and will now play Yale for third place Sunday afternoon.
While the team victory is a major one for Harvard, the individual victory for Harrity over Farag makes next weekend's individual championship all the more dramatic. Farag had yet to lose a collegiate match over the last two seasons, including two wins over Harrity. Over the last two weeks, Harrity has defeated both 2012 finalists, including a 3-0 win over Columbia's Ramit Tandon in the regular season finale.
Harvard 5, Princeton 4
1) Todd Harrity (P) d. Ali Farag 3-1
2) Brandon McLaughlin (H) d. Samuel Kang 3-0
3) Tyler Osborne (P) d. Nigel Koh 3-0
4) Gary Power (H) d. Dylan Ward 3-2
5) Tyler Olson (H) d. Steve Harrington 3-0
6) Taylor Tutrone (P) d. Tom Mullaney 3-1
7) Vivek Dinodia (P) d. Zeke Scherl 3-0
8) Matt Roberts (H) d. David Hoffman 3-1
9) Alexander Ma (H) d. Michael LeBlanc 3-0