After finishing a respectable 12-8 the Cornell men’s tennis team, led by last year’s All-Ivy Player of the Year senior Mike Halperin, hopes to climb to the top of the Ivies this season.
The Red won its first nine matches last year for the first time since 1953, but finished on a low note losing two heartbreakers to Yale and Princeton.
The team has many established stars in the league returning this year for their final year, such as Halperin and classmate Russell Gimelstob, who now are ready to take the reigns of the team.
Halperin, singles first-team All-Ivy and All-Ivy Player of the year, finished last year with an amazing 7-0 record in the Ivy league. The last Cornellian to post an undefeated Ivy season was Jerry Levin in 1963. Overall last season, Halperin went 12-3, with all of the losses coming at the hands of NCAA nationally ranked players. With these victories, Halperin became the first Cornellian since 1986 to win an NCAA tournament bid.
Halperin also received the Region-1 ITA Player to Watch Award for the 1999 season. The honor goes to the player who not only has had an outstanding season, but is also expected to perform at a high level the rest of his career.
Head coach Barry Schoonmaker returns this year for his sixth season with the Red. Schoonmaker, who recently was appointed manager of the Reis Tennis Center, has an overall record of 55-66 at the helm of the Red, including a 45-38 mark over the last four years. The team went 12-10 in 1997 and 11-10 in 1998 under Schoonmaker, the first back-to-back winning campaigns since 1992.
The team starts the 2000-2001 season at home this weekend with the Cornell Fall Outdoor Invitational and will attend five other tournaments before the fall season is up.
The Red returns to action on Jan. 26th with the Virginia Commonwealth invitational. It finishes the season with three tough matches in a row: home against Yale and Harvard in addition to away at Penn.
Cornell found itself at the bottom of the Ivy League last year after suffering two narrow defeats to Yale and Brown. While it started promising winning its first nine matches, it dropped four out its next five matches, with a record of 1-3 in the Ivies, with two left to play. However, the Red rebounded and defeated Penn in a tough close match, wining 4-3.
Men’s tennis this year is poised to make it to the top of the league. Lead by Ivy Stars like Halperin and Gimelstob, the Big Red netters will definitely be the team to watch come May.
Archived article by Sun Staff