On Saturday, the women's tennis team beat Binghamton to continue their 3-match winning streak and the men's tennis team fell to Penn State.
On Saturday the women’s tennis team was able to do something it had failed to accomplish in each of the last two years — beat Binghamton.
As head coach Mike Stevens explained, the Bearcats are a team that the Red faces quite often, and they are not easy competition.
“Binghamton is a very good team. They were nationally ranked last year and they have all of their starters back,” Stevens said. “We knew it was going to be a tough match going in.”
Evidently the team was well-prepared, as it managed to beat the Bearcats rather easily, 6-1.
“All the ladies on the team played very well,” Stevens said. “They had game plans going in for each of their matches and they executed them — it was a good win for the program.”
Stevens was actually Binghamton’s coach last season, so his new team was extremely pleased to be able to deliver him a win against them over the weekend.
“We lost to them last year by a really close score, 4-3, so we were really, really excited to beat them on Saturday,” said sophomore Christine Ordway. “We went in knowing who we were playing, what they played like, what their game style was … we were really pumped. We won, 6-1, which was unbelievable.”
The team feels that there were a few factors that helped it pull out victories last weekend. One of them was definitely the hard work it put into training, both on and off the court.
“The preparation going into the weekend was very good,” Stevens said. “Everyone played hard. The mental toughness aspect of it was very good as well and definitely helped with the positive outcome of the match.”
From the players’ perspective, feeling like a unified team is also not something to be taken for granted.
“We’re all really close and we enjoy spending time together, which definitely is not true of a lot of teams,” Ordway said. “We all really support each other and want … to win.”
This is especially important when the Red plays against some of its fiercer competitors.
“We may not be expecting to win, but because we all want to and really support each other, we motivate each other and are able to come out on top in a lot of matches that we otherwise wouldn’t be able to,” Ordway said.
One player’s performance that Stevens singled out as exceptionally impressive this weekend was that of Ordway.
“Ordway, No. 1 singles, played a great match against Binghamton’s nationally-ranked Anna Edelman,” Stevens said. “She was very strong, her serve was on that day and it helped her win a lot of key points. Holding her serve helped her focus on break points, which put a lot of pressure on Edelman.”
After losing to Edelman two weeks ago in the Cornell Invitational this weekend’s victory was especially meaningful, according to Ordway.
“I played [Edelman] three times in the fall and lost every single one,” Ordway said. “It was great to actually be able to go out and beat her for the first time. She’s ranked No. 3 in our region, so it gives me some confidence going into the rest of the season.”
So what’s next for the Red, who has won its past three matches?
The team leaves on Thursday for the ECAC Championships in Princeton, N.J., where it will play against the other Ivy League teams for the first time this season.
“This win definitely gives the team confidence,” Stevens said. “They have been working hard, and they realize that the hard work is starting to play off.”
The men’s tennis team, however, did not fare quite as well in its match against Penn State on Saturday. The Red fell to the Nittany Lions, 5-2.
“Penn State is a good team; its always tough to play on the road,” said head coach Tony Bresky. “They played a really good match.”
The team lost a few sets at the beginning, which started momentum going in the wrong direction.
“We didn’t start out as well as we wanted to,” Bresky said. “ We lost that pull I thought we could get. We lost a couple of tiebreakers in the first set; a couple key matches didn’t go our way. They out played us in certain positions.”
Senior tri-captain Jon Jaklitsch explained that while in certain sets the Red couldn’t find a way to win, there were many areas of play that could have been improved.
“We came out in the doubles a little flat,” Jaklitsch said. “Doubles is one of our biggest strengths, so to lose that was kind of disappointing. I thought we were ready for the singles, but we just lost a lot of close matches.”
Despite Saturday’s match not going quite as the Red would have hoped, it remains confident for the future.
“We really wanted to beat Penn State, we haven’t beaten them since I’ve been at Cornell,” Jaklitsch said. “We lost, but I don’t think it was because of a lack of effort. It’s just disappointing because I know how hard the guys have been working all season long.
What were capable of is not coming out right now — we’re playing below that.”
While the match might not have come together so well for the team, Jaklitsch was able to pull out a strong showing on his own.
“Jaklitsch had a really good day,” Bresky said. “He beat a guy that was undefeated in the season so far. He came out strong and really set the tone for us and gave us a chance to stay in the match.”
The Red is staying focused, learning from its mistakes and looking ahead to the future.
“I think we’ll spend a lot of time on our doubles this week. That seems to be the No.1 thing we need to work on right now,” Bresky said.
Hard work is nothing new to the Red.
“We are one of the fittest teams, I think, not only in the Ivy League, but in the country,” Jaklitsch said. “We have done a great job with that … we’re all playing below what we’re capable of in doubles. Just getting back to a steady level is what we’re focusing on right now.”
As Cornell heads to the ECAC Championship this weekend — where it holds the No. 1 seed — the team has made sure not to let the past couple of weeks throw things off course.
“I don’t think we should dwell too much on the past two matches,” Jaklitsch said. “We have been playing well all season, this is just a little hiccup.”