Coming off a dramatic and important win over Columbia last week, the men’s tennis team will take on Harvard and Dartmouth this weekend at the Reis Tennis Center in two pivotal showdowns. The pair of contests will go a long way towards determining the Red’s end of year place in the Ivy League standings.
The team comes into the matches filled with momentum. After three competitive matches in Florida over spring break, the Red eked out a win over the Lions. The victory was by the narrowest of possible margins. Cornell won 4-3, with Scott Paltrowitz winning at the fourth singles position after saving a match point in the second set tiebreak. The win boosted the squad’s record to 14-3.
“It was great,” said head coach Barry Schoonmaker of the victory. “We hadn’t beaten Columbia since 1980, and they had won nine of 10 Ivy League titles so obviously it’s a big confidence boost.”
The first match of the weekend will be against the Crimson, at 2 p.m. today. On the surface, this clearly appears to be the tougher of the two matches. Harvard has been ranked as high as 24th in the country this season. Unlike the Red, Harvard has yet to play an Ivy League match this season, but it have been impressive thus far, nonetheless, compiling an 8-4 record with wins over North Carolina, Purdue, Oklahoma State and UC-Santa Barbara. Such impressive performances mesh well with preseason prognostications in which Harvard is generally recognized as one of the favorites to win the Ivy League.
“We’re really going to have to play our best to beat Harvard,” Schoonmaker said. “Harvard is ranked very high in the country, so the pressure will be on them.”
In the second match of the weekend, Cornell will host the Big Green at noon tomorrow. While Dartmouth’s recent Ivy League history is not nearly as formidable as Harvard’s, certain factors suggest a close match. For one, Dartmouth played the Red tough in October match at the ECAC championships, before succumbing 4-3. In addition, Dartmouth has managed to put together a relatively impressive campaign thus far, as its record stood at 10-6 going into last weekend’s action.
“The Dartmouth match is the opposite [of the Harvard match],” Schoonmaker said. “The pressure is certainly on us. They’re much improved, and we’ll have to play very well to win. Hopefully we’ll come out ready to play.”
Archived article by Andrew Bernie