Kicking off its spring schedule, the men’s tennis will play host to Colgate at the Reis Tennis Center today.
The Red enters the second half of its season after a successful fall campaign. Finishing eighth in the 16-team field of the ECAC Championships, Cornell competitors also compiled an impressive 24-16 record throughout play at the Yale Invitational.
Meanwhile, the Raiders enter the dual contest having dropped its last five team matches in a row. In its latest defeat, Colgate was shut out by Brown, 7-0.
Cornell head coach Barry Schoonmaker is confident the Red can extend the Raiders’ losing streak.
“Traditionally we’ve had pretty good matches with Colgate,” Schoonmaker said. “It’s a great way to start the season.”
Furthermore, with the Red’s lack of practice time since coming back from winter break and the fact that the team has yet to face any competition this semester, Schoonmaker hopes to use the matches as a gauge to see the shape his team is in.
“The guys don’t come back early for tennis, so we’ve just been playing since this semester,” he said. “We need to see if we’re really ready to play matches. Practice is not the same feel as when you play real matches.”
Injuries and illness is another concern that the Red will have to deal with in today’s battle with Colgate.
“The biggest problem right now is [sophomore] Nick Brunner re-hurt his ankle that he hurt in the fall and a lot of guys are just sick,” Schoonmaker said. “They’ll just have to play through that — just try and come out and play solid tennis.”
Though he suffered through an injury plagued fall campaign, Brunner did make one appearance for the team reaching the quarterfinals of the ITA Northeast Regionals with doubles partner Josh Raff.
Junior Brett McKeon will be another key player in Cornell’s bid for a successful spring season. He compiled a 7-4 singles record and 6-5 doubles record throughout the first semester.
McKeon’s No. 1 singles match today sets up to be quite a battle, as he will take on Colgate standout Reed Hagmann.
“[Hagmann] is one of the top five in the whole Northeast, so it’s a really big challenge for Brett,” Schoonmaker said. “That’s certainly the marquee match. The other guys just need to take care of business.”
Following the Colgate match, the Red will play host to Rutgers this weekend before heading to Michigan State a week later.
Archived article by Scott Reich
Sun Staff Writer