On Sunday, I watched Haverford play Salisbury, a D-III Maryland school ranked 12th in the nation. It had rained most of the morning, and the chilly gray skies ruled out any possibility that the moisture would evaporate. The 1 p.m. match was moved inside the field house. Haverford set up four makeshift courts on the gleaming rubberized surface. The lighting was dim, the courts bizarre, crisscrossed with lines for basketball and and track and field.
But the tennis was excellent. Salisbury won two of the three doubles courts. At #1, Haverford’s Kinrade and Steigel shut down Salisbury’s Kincaid and Burtzlaff. They traded service games to 8-all, taking the match to a tiebreak. Haverford had been on its heels for most of the match, saving multiple break points to keep the score even. But in the breaker, they sprinted ahead. Kinrade punished a meek lob with a thunderous smash, then served for the match. He launched a missile at Kincaid. The return sailed long.
Salisbury dominated the singles. At #1, Haverford’s Kinrade battled Salisbury’s Kincaid. Both guys served big, with intimidating first deliveries and penetrating spins and kicks on their second serves. The points were long. Kinrade kept the ball deep with heavily topspun groundstrokes. But Kincaid would eventually step in and angle the ball short with a slice, taking Kinrade out of the point. Every once in awhile, Kinrade would shelve the topspin and rip a cold-blooded winner, but not often enough. Kincaid prevailed 6-4, 6-2.
Haverford took two singles courts, but dropped the rest, giving Salisbury a 6-3 win. But it was a good showing for Haverford–a loss to a national power in a non-league match, but a step forward in their quest for a berth in the NCAAs.