The Reis Tennis Center will once again be a battleground for the Red as the women’s tennis team returns to competition this weekend, hosting Columbia, Temple, Bucknell, Binghamton and Army in the annual Cornell Winter Invitational.
This weekend’s tournament — running today through Sunday — will give the Red an opportunity to face quality opponents in game situations before the spring season begins next month.
[img_assist|nid=20946|title=Good contact.|desc=Senior co-captain Kasia Preneta meets the ball with a strong forehand. Preneta won the Flight A singles championship at the Penn State Invitational on Nov. 5.|link=none|align=left|width=99|height=100]
“I kind of like to just jump right back into competition, even though we haven’t had that many practices,” said head coach Laura Glitz.
The team has not seen competition for several months, but the freshman Susan Sullivan has been inactive even longer, as she underwent knee surgery last February. Her recovery, which was slowed by persistent cartilage complications, forced Sullivan to miss the entire fall season.
On Wednesday, Sullivan was cleared to play and will represent the Red in the tournament’s C Flight. She is excited to finally compete in her first college match.
“After taking so much time off, I’m not expecting amazing things,” Sullivan said. “I’m kind of nervous so I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself. I just want to get comfortable playing college matches and start getting into a rhythm.”
The last time the Red was in action was nearly three months ago at the Penn State Invitational. The women ended the fall season in fine form as they seized second place and grabbed three individual titles.
Senior co-captain Kasia Preneta won the A Flight singles championship after facing her teammate, sophomore Tamara John, in the final. Meanwhile, sophomore Elizabeth Googe won the B Flight title and junior Weatherly Schwab topped D Flight singles.
“[Glitz has] done so much with our whole team with fitness … running and lifting,” said senior co-captain Nisha Suda. “It showed when we played Penn State in the fall. [Against Penn State] we pulled out so many tight matches. Hopefully we’ll get to see some of that this weekend.”
At last year’s Winter Invitational, the duo of Mollie Edinson ’06 and sophomore Shayna Miller won the A Flight doubles crown. The Red’s other title, however, came with a surprising twist.
Suda defeated her sister, Columbia sophomore Nina Suda, in the B Flight final. Since the younger Suda sister is returning to East Hill this year, there is the possibility of a rematch between the talented siblings.
One goal of the team going into the tournament, according to Suda, is to be more aggressive. The Red should work on riskier skills such as serve and volley in matches now, when it is so early in the spring season.
“This is really the time to try new things,” Suda said.
Though the tournament will give the women a taste of spring season competition, it will also allow Glitz to gauge any potential weaknesses for the Red.
“After the tournament we’ll see what we need to work on,” she said.