The Cornell women’s tennis team returned to form and dominated the New Jersey Institute of Technology this past weekend at the Reis Tennis Center, snapping a two-match losing streak. The victory evened the Red’s season record at 2-2.
Saturday afternoon’s one-sided affair ended as a 7-0 Cornell win and gives the Red a 4-0 all-time record against NJIT.
“Our main takeaway … is starting as aggressors from the first ball,” said junior captain Priyanka Shah. “No matter who we play — a weaker team or a ‘better team’ on paper — we want to start the same way. We want to start with high energy and start with our strategy from the first point.”
The team led from the first point of the day and never looked back. Strong performances in both singles as well as doubles competition highlighted the big day.
In singles, the Red earned victories in all six matches. Marika Cusick, Alexandra D’Ascenzo, Shah, Mariko Iinuma, Lizzie Stewart and Madison Stevens — ranked first through sixth, respectively — all came out on top. In doubles action, the Red was also dominant. The pairings of Cusick and D’Ascenzo, Iinuma and Shah, and Stevens and Stewart all defeated their NJIT counterparts handily.
Now, the Red turns its attention to this weekend, when it will face the ECAC’s best at the Indoor Conference Championships.
Many familiar faces from the Red’s doubles pairings this past Saturday were responsible for the team’s strong performance at ECACs last year; the pairings of Cusick and D’Ascenzo as well as Stewart and Shah saw impressive performances at 2016 tournament, hosted by Dartmouth.
All four players will return to ECACs this season prepared to compete again. With another year of experience under their belts and heightened confidence coming off of their dominant performances against NJIT, the group has its sights set on a statement weekend.
“This is a big week of practice for us going into ECACs,” Shah said. “We are focusing on maintaining high energy and discipline. The tone of this week’s practices will carry throughout the weekend, so we really are focusing on everything that will help us win ECACs.”
The ECAC Championships will begin this Friday for the Red. The championships will be hosted by Harvard at Cambridge’s Beren Tennis Center. Cornell opens competition against Dartmouth on Friday and is scheduled to face off against the Crimson on Saturday and Princeton on Sunday.
The Red is currently ranked 59th in all of Division I and has the fourth-best season record thus far amongst Ivy League teams. Columbia won last year’s ECAC championship, and Dartmouth took home the trophy back in 2015.
This year, Cornell will attempt to add its name to that list.