PRINCETON -- Stretching for nearly five hours, it was a match the Princeton women's tennis team needed to have if it was to retain any hope of contending for the Ivy League crown.
Monica Chow's three-set match at fifth singles sealed a 4-3 victory over Harvard Sunday that improved Princeton to 3-2 in the Ivy League and 10-10 overall, lifting the Tigers into a second-place tie with Columbia in the league. Yale is in first place at 4-0 with three matches to play, including one after Princeton's regular season wraps up next weekend.
Princeton and Harvard started the day splitting the first two doubles matches to be decided, with 30th-ranked Hilary Bartlett and Lindsay Graff defeating 48th-ranked Kristin Norton and Hideko Tachibana 8-3. Harvard, however, claimed the point with a win at second singles over Katie Goepel and Rachel Saiontz that went deep into a tiebreaker, 11-9, before going the Crimson's way.
That was only a preview of singles play, which saw Princeton take a 3-2 lead after wins by Graff, Saiontz and Goepel but with two remaining matches extending to third sets.
Chow, though ultimately wrapping up her match with Samantha Gridley in three sets, battled back from being down 5-2 to force a tiebreak that Gridley won 13-11. Chow rebounded to win the third set 6-4 and tip the match toward Princeton, 4-3.
The Tigers will split their final regular-season weekend between Princeton and Ithaca, N.Y., hosting Columbia Friday before visiting Cornell Sunday.
Princeton (10-10, 3-2) 4, (72) Harvard (9-6, 2-2) 3
1. (30) Bartlett/Graff (P) def. (48) Norton/Tachibana (H), 8-3
2. Hannah Morrill/Kelly Whelan (H) def. Goepel/Saiontz (P), 9-8(9)
3. Gridley/Jania (H) def. Chow/Flanigan (P), 8-3
Order of finish: 1,3,2
1. Hideko Tachibana (H) def. (100) Hilary Bartlett (P), 6-2, 6-3
2. Lindsay Graff (P) def. Camille Jania (H), 6-1, 6-0
3. Kristin Norton (H) def. Katherine Flanigan (P), 6-4, 0-6, 6-3
4. Rachel Saiontz (P) def. Natalie Blosser (H), 6-1, 6-2
5. Monica Chow (P) def. Samantha Gridley (H), 6-3, 6-7(13), 6-4
6. Katie Goepel (P) def. Sylvia Li (H), 6-3, 6-4
Order of finish: 2,1,4,6,3,5