With the start of April, the men’s and women’s tennis teams will kick off their respective Ivy League campaigns this weekend.
The men play host to No. 75 Columbia (9-2) tomorrow. The Red is coming off a somewhat disappointing Texas road trip over Spring Break, going 2-2 but losing to both of the top-100 opponents it faced. The team lost a tight match to No. 72 Texas-Arlington, but later proved to be no match for No. 60 Saint Mary’s getting whitewashed, 7-0. The losses cost the Red in the rankings, dropping Cornell from a season-high ranking of No. 66 down to No. 74.
“It was a little bit of a disappointment losing to UT-Arlington, especially,” head coach Barry Schoonmaker said. “But I’m not unhappy with the way our guys played. There were really tough conditions out there. It was very windy and cold, which our guys are not used to.”
Now, the team is hoping to regroup for Columbia and the upcoming Ivy League slate.
“Columbia is a tough team, it will be a tough match,” Schoonmaker said. “But we’re a good team too, so I expect to win. We’re certainly not the favorites in the Ivy League, but we can beat anyone.”
While the team’s doubles lineup has been strong all year, highlighted by No. 1 juniors Josh Raff and Nicholas Brunner’s 11-3 record, the singles results have been mixed. Senior co-captain Brett McKeon has faced stiff competition at the No. 1 spot, where he has played since his breakout freshmen year. His singles teammates have been similarly challenged, as Schoonmaker has been forced to juggle the rest of his singles lineup all year. searching for McKeon has posted an 8-8 record so far, but will have an opportunity to move over .500. Columbia’s Jimmy Moore, just 5-13 on the year, remains at No. 1 singles. Somehow, the Lions have been able to overcome this deficiency to have a 9-2 record-thanks in large part to Moore himself. Teaming with Marty Moore, the Moore’s are11-1 on the season at No. 1 doubles. With both teams’ strengths on the doubles side of the court, this promises to be an interesting match between the two squads.
The women’s team also faces Columbia, this time on the road. This match provides a good chance for the Red to begin the Ivy season on a positive note, as the Lions have lost to every top-100 opponent they have faced this year.
Columbia’s 3-5 record may be deceiving, however. The team has played a difficult schedule, facing numerous formidable non-conference tests. The struggling squad does boast depth, however, highlight by wins from singles players Sydney Murray and Angela Hendry.
Cornell has done well all season against teams ranked below the Red, but struggled versus top-100 teams. The Red’s Spring Break loss to Boise State, 7-0, represents a learning experience for the young team, filled with underclassmen. The squad will be looking to rebound after two consecutive losses.
No. 1 doubles figures to be a focal point in this match, with both teams boasting confident doubles teams. Columbia’s Milena Kachar and Kara Worsley have been tested against several top-100 and top-50 doubles teams, while Cornell’s senior Mollie Edinson and freshman Shayna Miller have struggled recently. Junior Kasia Preneta, who plays both singles and doubles, has provided stability at No. 2 singles as well as No. 2 doubles.