As the fall season draws to a close, members of the men’s tennis team will travel to Philadelphia this weekend to compete in the Penn Invitational. This will be the culminating event of the tournament-laden fall season for Cornell tennis, as the team will shift its focus to weight training and informal practices in preparation for the highly competitive Ivy League spring season. The Penn Invitational draws player representatives from the Ivy League schools as well as other top teams in the region. The focus of the tournament is on inidividual performances as players compete in both the singles and doubles brackets.
According to Head Coach Barry Schoonmaker, “It’s a nice tournament to finish up the season with and is a great chance for some of the guys to get one more chance to play before the off-season.”
Representing Cornell at the Penn Classic will be senior Mike Delany and sophomore Kevin Jay. As the team heads into its three-month hiatus, expectations are high as the players are looking forward to one last opportunity to compete and to hone their match play skills.
“I’d like to go out there with guns blazing and improve on my performances earlier in the season,” Jay said.
Jay, who is in his first semester since transferring from Auckland, New Zealand, says he is finding the transition on the court tough, but is enjoying the competition.
“It really depends on the level of competition, but at the minimum, Kevin and I would like to reach the quarterfinals of both the singles and the doubles tournament,” Delany said.
As per NCAA regulations, tennis players can only play a certain number of matches in an academic year. Last week, the team sent its top five players to Blacksburg, VA to compete in the ITA Northeast Regionals, an individual tournament for the region’s top players.
Not wanting to jeopardize the eligibility of the team’s top players, Schoonmaker will not be sending those five to Penn. Delany and Jay, however, jumped on the opportunity and are elated to be playing.
Looking ahead, the team is optimistic about its prospects in the upcoming season.
“We can be very good. We are a young team, but have the talent to be as good as anyone,” Schoonmaker said.
Delany, who is also the captain of the men’s squash team, feels that Cornell has fielded a highly competitive squad this year.
“We are a very strong team built on power. Indoors, the team is virtually unstoppable.”
The Penn Invitational will be held at the Levy Tennis Pavillion, Penn’s indoor tennis complex.
Archived article by Jon Hausner