The tennis season came to a close on Sunday, with the men’s and women’s squads facing Princeton in their final match. Cornell battled Penn on Friday, with the men at home and the women down in Philadelphia, Pa. While the women lost both their matches this weekend, the men emerged on top, ending the season with their third straight conference win.
The women (9-10, 1-6 Ivy League) were not entirely pleased with their performance over the weekend, especially after falling 5-2 to the Quakers (7-11, 2-5), according to junior Sarah O’Neil.
“Penn was definitely a team that, going in, we thought we should beat,” she said. “There aren’t really many positive things to say about that one. We got the doubles point — that was great — but other than that, singles was pretty weak. I think we left Penn with a bad taste in our mouth.”
The Red returned to Ithaca to play Princeton (12-10, 5-2) on Sunday; though the women fell to the Tigers, 4-3, the squad was much happier with its performance, O’Neil said.
“Coming back and playing Princeton at home, just a day and a half later, we bounced back and it was just a completely different team,” she said. “We played great in singles and we really had them.”
O’Neil added that with more experience, the underclassmen will learn how to stay strong for longer on the courts.“[The freshmen will] learn how to compete and stay on the court as long as possible,” she said. “That was one of the big things that the coaches talked about, was staying on the court for your teammates and fighting for every point.”
Despite not achieving its season’s goals, O’Neil said that the Red is ready to train over the summer in order to prepare for next year.
“We definitely didn’t do what we set out to do,” she said. “We all have things that we know we need to work on. It’s all about training over the summer — getting our games better and hopefully pulling it together to do something great next year.”
The men, on the other hand, ended their season on a positive note. The Red (10-15, 3-4) earned its first doubles point of the season on Friday en route to a 5-2 win over Penn (10-10, 2-5). On Sunday, the team achieved a 4-3 win against Princeton (12-12, 3-4), despite losing the doubles point and being down a set on four of the six singles courts.
“It wasn’t looking good for us but we fought really well to come back and win that match,” said freshman Sam Fleck. “It was the last match of the season, so there wasn’t that much riding on it. It was great that we fought back, for pride and for the win against a good Princeton team.”
Head coach Silviu Tanasoiu echoed Fleck’s sentiments about the dedication of the team.
“It was an outstanding effort from every single guy in our lineup in turning that around,” he said. “I thought they competed as hard as it gets … I was very proud of how they adjusted and how hard they fought.”
The sudden departure of former head coach Tony Bresky, who left Cornell for a coaching position at Wake Forest in October, impacted the team’s preparation and overall results this year. However, with these recent wins, the Red ended its season with a boost in the team’s confidence and anticipation for what the future will bring for the program.
“I came here in October, so we had a late start, and I think that was one of the problems,” Tanasoiu said. “It’s been encouraging going forward knowing that [these wins are] possible. I think the guys have seen it and now they believe in it — they believe in our system and they’re going to work this summer and the next fall in perfecting it. I feel very confident that we’re going to be in a much better place this time around next year.”
Fleck shared his coach’s positive attitude for the future of the team, as most members are underclassmen.
“We didn’t have as much time to work on things as much as some of the other teams. It was good that it finally came together — now we’re all kind of on the same page,” he said. “Hopefully we can come back and be better next year and win the title. We’ll all be a year older; we’re not losing anyone because we’re basically all freshman. We’ll have more experience and hopefully we’ll get stronger over the summer and … go from there.”