The women’s tennis team showed flashes of dominance in its first outing of the 2006-07 season, winning two titles as it hosted the annual Cornell Fall Invitational this past weekend.
Hosting Army, Buffalo, Colgate, Lehigh, Marist and Niagara at the Reis Tennis Center, the Red “had representation in every flight,” according to head coach Laura Glitz.
In a close-fought contest yesterday, the team consisting of sophomores Catherine Duboc and Shayna Miller won the A flight doubles crown.
“We complement each other really well,” Duboc said.
Miller came up with two aces in a row to tie the match at six games apiece. The evenly matched play continued throughout the rest of the set and the ensuing tiebreaker. When Buffalo failed to return an overhead from Miller, the Red took the tiebreak and the match, 9-8 (11-9).
Buffalo’s team of Denise Harijanto and Miglena Nenova had defeated the Cornell duo of senior Kasia Preneta and sophomore Elizabeth Googe, 8-6, the day before.
“This was more of a rivalry because our other teammates had lost to them, so we really wanted to beat them,” Duboc said.
Cornell’s second title came after an all-Cornell B flight singles final in which Googe defeated Duboc, 6-0, 6-1. The teammates met thanks to Buffalo’s Harijanto defaulting due to injury.
Preneta also advanced to the A flight singles final in which she faced Buffalo’s top regional player, Andreea Novaceanu. The final, however, proved to be less exciting than the semifinal matches leading up to it.
Novaceanu defeated sophomore Tamara John in a rematch of last year’s Cornell Fall Invitational final. John kept the 6-4, 7-5 loss competitive with her incredible serve, which often frustrated the Romanian lefty.
In the other semifinal match, Cornell co-captians Preneta and senior Nisha Suda squared off in a marathon three-hour match. Preneta outlasted Suda, 5-7, 7-6 (5), 10-8. Soon after the exhausting semifinal, Preneta then had to face a rested Novaceanu in the final.
“Kasia [Preneta] was definitely at a disadvantage … [after] playing Nisha [Suda] for three hours,” Glitz said.
On Friday, the first day of the tournament, the most exciting match of the day was John and Suda’s A flight doubles quarterfinal match against Novaceanu and Tina Jacobs. Playing together for the first time as a doubles team, the Cornell pair defeated the team from Buffalo in a remarkable come-from-behind victory. Even when they were down, John and Suda didn’t consider it a setback.
“We just talked about the major points,” John said.
“You can’t rush into the points that are important … Laura was saying, ‘You guys are playing too well to lose this,’” Suda added.
After dropping the first point of the tiebreaker, John and Suda went on an unanswered 4-0 run to take control of the match, eventually winning the tiebreaker, 7-3.
[img_assist|nid=18190|title=Top flight|desc=Sophomore Elizabeth Googe (pictured) cues up a serve at the Cornell Fall Invitational.|link=popup|align=left|width=56|height=100]
John was especially pleased since she had never beaten Novaceanu before.
“This is the most fun I’ve had playing at Cornell ever,” John said.
Glitz looks back on that match as one of the best of the tournament, impressed with John and Suda’s aggressiveness, cross-court shots, volleys and placement of serves.
“They both served really well,” Glitz said. “That’s the key in doubles.”
John and Suda lost to the eventual champions, teammates Duboc and Miller, early the next morning, 8-3.
After a particularly strong tournament showing, including the A flight doubles title, Miller lost a heartbreaker to Buffalo’s Smaranda Stan in the C flight singles final, 6-7 (4), 6-1, (10-7). Stan had defeated junior Dana Cruite in the quarterfinals, 3-6, 6-0, (13-11) and junior Ashley Ebbert in the semifinals, 6-3, 6-1.
The team of juniors Cruite and Weatherly Schwab advanced as far as the B flight doubles quarterfinals, and Schwab advanced to the semifinals before falling to Buffalo’s Diana Toia, 6-1, 6-3, in D flight singles play.