Coaches, as a rule, hate unpredictability. Oh sure, they will occasionally shake things up, like Head Coach Peter Daub did with his doubles pairings on Saturday. But, by and large, coaches want players they can count on, players they can turn to for stability in pressure moments.
On Sunday, sophomore Anton Andersson took another step toward becoming that type of player.
William and Mary (7-4) defeated Harvard 4-3 Sunday in the Tribe’s first ever win over the Crimson in school history. The match was close until the very end, and was tied 3-3 heading into Andersson’s match at the No. 1 singles position, the final match of the afternoon.
“He did what he was supposed to do,” Daub said. “He played well under pressure.”
Andersson won the first set 6-4 before falling to Harvard’s Jonathan Pearlman in the second set 1-6 to force a decisive third-set tiebreaker. Andersson would win the penultimate set 6-4 to give the College its seventh win of the season.
With the victory, Andersson clinched his 12th singles win of the season while also moving to 6-4 in the No. 1 singles position on the season.
“I think as you mature in life, you mature in tennis,” Daub said. “He is definitely a different player than he was last season. I think a lot of that has to do with him having to play under pressure. He has really had his feet held to the fire.”
Daub also changed his doubles pairings on the weekend, with the exception of senior Sebastian Vidal and sophomore Jamie Whitford. Vidal and Whitford combined to defeat the No. 46 ranked doubles team in the nation, Harvard’s Andy Nguyen and Alistair Felton, 9-8 to improve to 9-2 as a doubles pairing on the year.
Daub re-paired Andersson and junior Ilja Orre in the No. 2 doubles position against the Crimson and the pair responded with another 9-8 win to help the College claim the doubles point.
“I thought the doubles teams showed an aggressive attitude, all three of them,” Daub said. “They all improved over the previous week. We rearranged the teams and I thought they took on a more aggressive persona.”
It was a persona Daub thought reflected in their play.
“I think the team was loose and confident,” Daub said. “When they are lose and confident they are going for show. When they are aggressive they are moving around the court often. I thought we tried to move on the court and were taking a lot of shots.”
In singles, freshman Ben Guthrie defeated Harvard’s Alexei Chijoff-Evans in straight sets 6-0, 6-1, while Vidal picked up his 10th singles win of the season by defeating Aba Omodele-Lucien 6-4, 6-4 in the No.4 singles position.
Whitford and freshman Ben Hoogland would drop their respective singles matches though, as would sophomore Adrian Vodislav, forcing Andersson into a pressure-filled situation in the final match of the day.
And as he has started to do this season, the sophomore, and the squad, delivered.
“I thought we were a determined bunch,” Daub said. “We had lost the day before and we hadn’t held a positive attitude and we needed to change that. I definitely thought we played with a little swagger on Sunday.”