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Harvard Ends NCAA Men's Tennis Championship Run

Harvard's Alistar Felton

Courtesy of Harvard Athletic Communications

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The magical season for No. 24 Harvard men's tennis came to an end on Saturday afternoon when it fell to No. 12 Florida 4-0 in Gainesville, Fla.

The Crimson got inspired play from its doubles teams of sophomore Casey MacMaster and senior Alistair Felton, and senior Jon Pearlman and sophomore Christo Schultz who fought hard for the doubles point but it wasn't enough as Harvard concludes the 2011-12 season with the second best record in school history (23-3).

In doubles play, Harvard opened strong as both the No. 1 and No. 2 slotted teams of MacMaster and senior Felton along with Pearlman and Schultz opened up early leads over their opponents Trippper Carelton and Nassim Silalm and Spencer Newman and Bob Van Overbeek, respectively. Felton and MacMaster carried that momentum throughout their match, downing Florida's No. 1 paring, 8-6. Florida tied the doubles score as Michael Alford and Florent Diep handled Andy Nguyen and Denis Nguyen, 8-2. With the split doubles matches, the point hinged on Pearlman and Schultz's match in the No. 2 slot. The Harvard duo held a 7-6 advantage over the Florida tandem but Newman and Van Overbeek were able to fight back and even the match.

The Gators rode that momentum through the rest of the match and edged Pearlman and Schultz 9-7. The Gators entered singles competition with a 1-0 lead thanks to taking the doubles point.

In singles competition Harvard battled but were overpowered by the Gators. Both freshman Alex Steinroeder and Schultz found themselves down early in the first set while Pearlman and Andy Nguyen and Denis Nguyen opened up slim leads.

The Gators got on the board with its second and third points as Steinroeder fell to Diep 6-1, 6-4, while Schultz was downed shortly thereafter by Slilam, 6-2, 6-3. Andy Nguyen forced a third set out of the No. 6 hole and Pearlman battled Van Overbeek hard in the No. 1 slot,  as the score stood 7-6, 1-3, but the Gators claimed the match clinching victory when Newman defeated freshman Shaun Chaudhuri in the No. 4 position, 6-4, 6-2, ending Harvard's NCAA run.

Harvard concludes its regular season in impressive fashion having won the program's 29th Ivy League championship, recording the programs second-best record, getting impressive contributions from its freshman class as well as tremendous leadership from its graduating senior class. Pearlman earned All-Ivy League first team honors while Nguyen was tabbed with All-Ivy second-team accolades.

No. 12 Florida 4, No. 24 Harvard 0

Doubles
1. Felton/MacMaster (Harvard) def. Carleton/Slilam (UF), 8-5
2. *Newman/van Overbeek (UF) def. Pearlman/Schultz (Harvard), 9-7
3. Alford/Diep (UF) def. A. Nguyen/D. Nguyen (Harvard), 8-2
Order of finish: 1, 3, 2*

Singles
1. #42 Bob van Overbeek (UF) v. Jonathan Pearlman (Harvard), 6-7 (4), 3-1 DNF
2. #48 Tripper Carleton (UF) led Denis Nguyen (Harvard), 6-3, 3-2 DNF
3. #53 Nassim Slilam (UF) def. Christo Schultz (Harvard), 6-2, 6-3
4. #66 Spencer Newman (UF) def. Shaun Chaudhuri 6-4, 6-2
5. Florent Diep (UF) def. Alex Steinroeder (Harvard), 6-1, 6-4
6. Andrew Butz (UF) v. Andy Nguyen (Harvard), 4-6, 6-4 DNF
Order of finish: 5, 3, 4*

*Clinched victory