Harman makes key adjustment in close singles win

first_img Comments Published on March 31, 2010 at 12:00 pm Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Emily Harman had to get to the net. She was playing a match tiebreaker with the score tied at one at the end of the second set, and her groundstrokes simply would not win it. Not against Jessica Ahn’s consistent returns. But regardless of the speed of Ahn’s serves or the regularity of Ahn’s shots, Harman realized if she was to win, she couldn’t sit back. She needed to attack her opponent. The opportunity to dictate plays while putting away volleys was crucial.‘She’s always going to be an extremely aggressive player, in all facets,’ SU head coach Luke Jensen said. ‘She’s always looking to end the points on her own terms.’From there on out Harman attacked the net every time she had a chance. Instead of waiting at the baseline, she sprinted five strides forward.That’s where her game was. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textHarman’s change to that aggressive style caught her opponent off guard and secured a 6-1, 6-7 (6), 10-4 win Wednesday. In Syracuse’s 6-1 team victory over Army, Harman’s match provided just about the only excitement of the day. Aside from a loss for co-captain Simone Kalhorn, the Orange cruised to its 10th straight victory, dropping only three sets on the day.Harman, still residing far from the net, appeared to be on course for an easy victory after winning her first set. Assistant coach Shelley George said she was hitting first serves and keeping her opponent on her heels. But the second set got away from her. The attack simply wasn’t there. ‘(Ahn) won the first game of the second set, which in tennis is big if you haven’t won much in the first set,’ Harman said. ‘And I think she made a couple of lucky shots that got her confidence going and then her game started clicking a lot more than in the first set. I made some errors and didn’t execute as well as I did in the first set, which allowed her back in.’Harman came back from being down 5-2 to force a second-set tiebreaker. She started shifting into a serve-and-volley game more. But with that, her returns became tentative. She hadn’t completely made the shift yet, though, losing the second set.Then, instead of playing a third set, Harman and Ahn played a tiebreaker to 10 because Syracuse had already won enough singles matches and the doubles point to have clinched a team victory. Her volleys and serve had just one tiebreaker to stand out.‘(Volleying) is what I like,’ Harman said. ‘A very big strength in my game is to take the first serve and rock it and then just finish the point. Make the point short, attack and the way that I attack is to get to net. And my hands are good and I play to my strength.’This strength manifested itself in several points in the match tiebreaker. Ahn was unable to return two of Harman’s serves, hitting one into the net and one deep. Three points were decided when Harman hit winning volleys past Ahn. She angled volleys so Ahn could not reach them before they flew out of bounds. On the second-to-last point, with the score 9-3, Ahn saw Harman at net and started to sneak forward herself. But that’s where Harman wanted the game to be. That’s where her game resides.Unperturbed, Harman hit a volley past Ahn. Had Ahn been at the baseline — where she spent most of the match — she could have kept the point alive.Ahn didn’t, and two points later, Harman closed out the match. All because of that switch.‘I thought she played awesome,’ Kalhorn said. ‘She was being so aggressive and coming to net and not even giving the other girl a chance really.’alguggen@syr.edulast_img