The Cornell men’s tennis team capped its fall season off by winning three singles and one doubles flight in the Cornell Fall Indoor Invitational. The Red will have almost three months off before beginning the spring season Jan. 25 at the Virginia Commonwealth Invitational.
Outwardly, the squad was pleased with its performance thus far and optimistic about its chances in the spring. “We got a lot of young guys on the team, and they got some good experience,” noted senior Pat Hagan.
Perhaps the highlight of the year prior to the solid hometown tournament was a fifth place finish at the ECAC Invitational, which featured a win against Penn State, who beat the Big Red a year ago.
“It was a great performance for the team in the ECAC tournament,” sophomore Scott Paltrowitz said. “That, coupled with the results this weekend, and I think we have a lot of momentum heading into the spring season.”
Paltrowitz, who along with Scott Spencer won the doubles A flight this weekend, played in only two tournaments this fall because of a torn ligament. If his performance this weekend is any indication, the long layoff should help his already speedy recovery process.
Coach Barry Schoonmaker was more guarded in his assessment, as he said, “I thought we did ok,” while he conceded that “[winning 4 of 6 flights] was a good way to finish it up.”
Schoonmaker also plans on taking something of a hands-off approach to the long layoff. “Right now, we’re just going to sit the racquets down for a while,” he says. “The guys who are motivated will have a chance to move up by playing or hitting the weight room. As motivated as they’ve been, I have a feeling they’ll still be out there [during the layoff].”
The players, for the most part, feel the same way. “It’s important not to let down much,” Paltrowitz said, while adding that weight training and voluntary playing will be a key factor if the team is to continue improving.
Despite the solid performance, however, the players had a different kind of challenge in store for them in the spring season. Hagan points out that there is a sizable individual component to the fall season which makes the goals of the players, at different times, somewhat dissimilar. No such ambiguity will exist when the team assembles for the second chapter of the year.
“Our goal is to win an Ivy League championship,” Paltrowitz said. “That’s the reason we play, the reason we practice. It’s a tough goal but we think we can achieve it.”
On this point, Schoonmaker concurred. “The fall season is for scouting, to see what kind of players other teams have got. It’s important but the month of April is when we hope to peak.”
Archived article by Andrew Bernie