As the weather gets nicer, the opponents get tougher and the games become more consequential for the Cornell men’s and women’s tennis teams. After suffering losses to Harvard in their last outing, both the men’s and women’s teams look to return to their winning ways this weekend, in games against Ivy League foes, Yale and Brown.
The men’s team (10-5, 1-2 Ivy) was edged out by Harvard, 4-3, on Saturday. The loss reflected the team’s recent underwhelming play, having also lost to Columbia before its match against the Crimson. The Red, which previously held a six-game win streak over Spring Break, currently possesses a losing record, 1-2, against Ancient Eight rivals.
After playing two games on the road, a 12-8 loss to Dartmouth on Saturday and Monday’s 5-3 win over the University of New Hampshire, the women’s lacrosse team is prepared to host Brown University at Schoellkopf Field tomorrow.
The win against UNH marked the end of a four-game losing streak for the Red, with each of the losses coming against teams ranked in the top-20. The match against UNH showcased the Red’s tough defense. Junior goalkeeper Kristen Reese achieved career-best results, making 13 saves and holding guard at the net without allowing one goal for over 31 minutes during the first half. UNH, a team that averages 13 goals per game, wasn’t allowed much room for scoring.
Saying that the Red got off to a red hot start in Ivy League play over the weekend would be an understatement. Cornell opened its conference schedule with a statement to the rest of the league by scoring 11 runs in the first inning of game one against Brown (4-12, 0-2 Ivy) on Saturday. The team would cruise to an 11-0 win before another shutout victory, 6-0, in game two.
“It was crazy,” said junior Ashley Garvey about the first inning. “Alison [Intihar] started it off with a really well-hit ball, and our bats just caught fire. Momentum went from batter to batter to batter. We were just sitting in the dugout wondering what was going on. It was just crazy.”
Though the baseball team split its home-opening doubleheader against Brown on Saturday — facing its first conference foe of 2009 — there was a tangible feeling of celebration in the home team dugout at Hoy Field. After a crushing loss in Game 1, 10-2, Cornell relied on standout performances from both a rookie and a seasoned veteran, freshman right fielder Brian Billigen and senior shortstop Scott Hardinger, to take the back end of the doubleheader, 8-4.
“To beat a team as good as Brown after losing the first [game] shows the character of this team and shows that [Cornell’s players] are starting to figure out how to win,” said first-year head coach Bill Walkenbach, who tallied his first Ivy win on Saturday.
The sweet smell of victory couldn’t come soon enough for the Red.
The men’s baseball team, losers of 10 straight games, limps into Ivy League play to take on Brown and Yale this weekend. The teams are practically mirror images of each other — each struggling to find consistent pitching to match their potent bats. If these characteristics hold true, prepare for some slugfests.
“Brown’s a really good hitting team,” said junior outfielder Nate David. “They’ve got a few guys in their lineup, some older guys, who can swing it.”
Brown’s senior shortstop Matt Nuzzo and his double play partner sophomore Ryan Zrenda have done the heavy lifting thus far, racking up 50 total bases between them. The combo has also provided airtight defense up the middle for Brown’s bevy of ground ball pitchers.
After an impressive outing in Florida last week, the women’s softball team is more than prepared to launch into the main attraction of the spring season: Ivy League competition. Cornell is scheduled to play two doubleheaders this weekend at its home venue, Niemand-Robison Field, against Brown (4-10) and Yale (9-11) to open the Ivy League season. The Red will take on the Bears and the Bulldogs tomorrow and Sunday with 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. starts on both days.
The softball team returned to Ithaca on Sunday and was forced to quickly snap back to reality, with farmer’s tans as the only remnants to show for the 17-game stretch of Spring Break.
After failing to score in the first two periods, Cornell (18-7-4, 13-6-3 ECAC Hockey) sliced Yale’s lead to 3-2 with two power play goals in the third period. However, the comeback was short-circuited as freshman forward Brian O’Neil netted his second goal of the evening with 45 seconds remaining in regulation to stake the Bulldogs to a 4-2 victory.
“We made some mistakes early on,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “Give [Yale] credit. They came out with a lot of intensity. We didn’t come out with desperation right off the bat. I am happy our guys didn’t quit [when it was 3-0], kept pushing for it and tried to get the tying goal. But, I’m also disappointed because we can’t give up the goal that we gave up in the beginning of the game.”
As the men’s hockey team wraps up its regular season schedule this weekend, it has a chance to capture the ECAC Hockey regular season title. While the No. 11 Red might need some help from other teams to win the title, the possibility does exist. Tonight, Cornell will be in New Haven, Conn., to take on Yale, and tomorrow the Red will travel to Providence, R.I. to face off against Brown. Two Cornell victories combined with a Yale loss on Sunday and Princeton losing one of its two weekend games would result in the Red taking the ECAC title, a fact that is not lost on head coach Mike Schafer ’86 and his players.
The wrestling team captured its seventh consecutive Ivy League Championship with two victories this past weekend. The second-ranked Red (12-2, 5-0 Ivy) dominated matches against Brown (4-6, 3-2 Ivy) and Harvard (5-12, 2-3 Ivy) as the team completed its regular season schedule.
“[Winning the Ivy League] is real exciting, but it’s really just the beginning,” said sophomore Corey Manson. “We’ve got the EIWA tournament and the NCAA tournament coming up. Our goal is to ultimately win the National Title.”
[img_assist|nid=35450|title=Eat mat!|desc=Wrestling took the Ivy League by storm for the seventh consecutive season, finishing its sweep of the Ancient Eight at Brown and Harvard this weekend. The team now heads to NCAAs.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
[img_assist|nid=35459|title=Beyond the arc|desc=Men’s basketball showed solid shooting from the field and from 3-point range in the Red’s dominant victory over Brown this weekend.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
For the second time this season, the men’s basketball team followed a lackluster performance with a masterful showing just one night later. The Red’s dominating 85-45 win over Brown on Saturday night followed its 12-point loss to Yale on Friday. Call it bipolarity, inconsistency or just an occasional dud. But the fact remains: The win put the team in great position — a two-game lead with four games to play — to capture the Ivy title in the coming weeks.