The women’s tennis team (15-6, 3-0 Ivy) defeated Harvard (10-8, 2-1 Ivy) by a score of 4-2 at home on Sunday afternoon, continuing their strong run against Ivy opponents this season. The win also extended the team’s win streak to four matches.
Harvard had the upper hand entering singles play, up 1-0 after Bruno dropped the doubles point with losses in second and third doubles.
“I think we came out a little nervous in doubles and (our) energy wasn't as good as it normally is for us,” Head Coach Lucie Schmidhauser said. “But definitely I still felt that in terms of the matchups in singles, we could still come through.”
Bruno responded by picking up the first singles point courtesy of Ali Benedetto ’24, who defeated her opponent with a pair of 6-1 victories.
“I knew that (my opponent) was a really good player off the baseline, and I needed to do everything I could to make her uncomfortable. I think I did a really good job of taking her out of her comfort zone,” Benedetto said. “She's a freshman, so she doesn't really have that experience. I knew if I could get on top of this girl early and knock her down a little bit, she wouldn't come back. And that’s what I did.”
Schmidhauser said Benedetto’s dominant victory allowed the team to feel like they were “really in it.”
“She definitely set the tone because she was off the court in less than an hour,” Schmidhauser said. “That really evened out the whole match for us after losing the doubles point.”
The Bears lost at second singles to give Harvard a 2-1 lead, but Lindsey Hofflander ’25 evened the score at two apiece with a victory in fifth singles (7-5, 6-3). In fourth singles, Phoebe Peus ’26 secured a hard-fought victory despite dropping the first set (4-6, 6-0, 6-4) to give Bruno the 3-2 lead.
“It was really great to see the turnaround and energy and focus for singles — everyone came out just really ready to go,” Schmidhauser said. “Even the players who maybe lost the first set or were down, they just kept coming back and kept competing. That made a big difference.”
With Brown needing just one more point in either third or sixth singles to defeat Harvard, Britany Lau ’23 rose to the occasion. In the game-deciding match, Lau picked up Bruno’s fourth and final point of the day with a come-from-behind 6-4 victory in the third set after splitting the first two with Harvard’s Sophia Ho. The match ended with a score of 4-2, with sixth singles between Addison Ahlstrom ’25 and her Crimson opponent remaining unfinished.
“Really just sticking to my gameplan and knowing what was working and how to make the other girl uncomfortable” allowed me to be effective, Lau said. “Just staying in there (and) making the girl hit amazing shots to beat me was really the way that I won the match today.”
“Brit battled so hard,” Schmidhauser said. “She was down in the third set but just kept competing, kept coming back at the girl. It's a great feeling to have a senior playing in the deciding match because you know she has that experience and she has that toughness.”
The team will continue its Ivy League series at Princeton (12-6, 3-0 Ivy) this Saturday at 1 p.m.
“We’re going to prepare in the same way, treat every match the same,” Lau said. “Just keep practicing, keep training hard, treat every practice as a match and really just go out there and play our hearts out.”