The men’s netters could have packed it in for good this weekend after dropping a gut-wrenching match to Brown on Friday afternoon, but instead they rebounded with great resiliency in beating Yale the next day.
The Brown Bears had a comeback 4-3 victory after falling behind by a score of 3-0. Cornell won two out of three doubles matches to squeak out the doubles point and draw first blood.
No. 2 doubles pairing senior tri-captain Russ Gimelstob and junior Pat Hagan knocked off Chris Wolfe and Chris Drake, 8-5. No. 3 freshman Zach Gallin and sophomore Mike Mestel psyched up the team for an exciting win over Ben Brier and Kris Goddard by a score of 9-8 (5) in a tiebreaker. It seemed that the last doubles match would set the table for the men for the rest of the day.
“We felt energized for the singles matches after Gallin and [Me]stel’s win,” remarked senior tri-captain Greg Artzt.
The netters jumped out to a quick 3-0 start, and put themselves in the driver’s seat. But like dropping your ice cream cone on a hot summer day, the Red had a crueler fate ahead.
Paying no mind to his team’s fate was no. 4 Gallin, as he erased Drake 6-2, 6-0, to open the singles matches. Classmate and no. 6 Julian Cheng followed suit in handing Goddard another loss, 6-4, 6-3.
Brown’s no. 5 Brier pulled out a three-set victory over junior no. 5 Stefan Paulovic for the deciding point in the match, 6-4, 1-6, 6-4.
Despite the fast start, the Red lost the last four singles matches.
Artzt continued, “It is OK to be disappointed until you go to sleep, but then you have to forget about it and comeback ready to play.”
On that note, the netters pounded the Elis, 5-2, for the first time since 1973. This improved the team record to 13-5 (2-3 Ivy).
The Red won at the same no. 2 and no. 3 spots in the doubles matches with the same lineup, but this time it did not let up and kept pressing the Bulldogs.
“We came in rejuvenated and got fired up after the doubles matches,” said Artzt.
Three of the netters had three-set victories. After dropping the first set, no. 2 junior Chris Lewis scrambled back for a 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 triumph over Scott Carlton. Paulovic pinched Chris Shackelton 6-7, 6-3, 7-5 at the no. 5 position. Lastly, Cheng continued his winning ways in abolishing Andrew Rosenfeld, 7-5, 2-6, 6-2 in the no. 6 position.
Artzt commented that, “You learn from your losses and after Brown we had extra motivation to win our own matches.”
Just as the doctor ordered, no. 3 Artzt had a straight sets victory, 6-3, 6-3, over Greg Royce.
“Sometimes people feel like it’s their own fault if we lose a close team match,” concluded Artzt.
The Red learned from its previous mistakes. It proceeded to take nothing for granted during the Yale match after winning the doubles contests and kept the engine at full throttle with aggressiveness.
In a weekend of ups and downs, in most extraordinary fashion, senior tri-captain and no. 1 Mike Halperin dropped both of his singles and doubles matches — he hadn’t lost a single match the last two years of league play.
Unfortunately, the netters will have to see how good they can play the role of the spoiler for the rest of the season as they are now out of contention for the Ivy League title. Nonetheless, this is one of the better seasons that they have had in a while. A couple of wins over Penn and Princeton this upcoming weekend will ensure a greater than .500 mark.
Archived article by Donald Lee