April 19, 2002

M. Tennis Aims for Best Ivy Record Yet

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The men’s tennis team will hit the road for a second straight weekend, traveling first to Philadelphia for a matchup against Penn today, and then moving east to Princeton to take on the Tigers Sunday. While winning both matches is undoubtedly the goal, the Red needs only to win one out of two to accomplish something that no Cornell men’s tennis team has done since 1966.

That potential accomplishment is finishing with a winning record in Ivy League play. With the Red currently standing at 3-2 in the conference, and with the matches this weekend being the final Ivy League contests of the season, one win will be enough to secure that goal. Last year, the Red fell one win short, with three.

Despite its historical significance, the team seems to be playing down its importance.

“Last year I think [a winning Ivy League record] was emphasized a lot more,” offered sophomore Julian Cheng. “The goal at the beginning of the season was obviously going 7-0, but now we’re focused on trying to go 5-2.”

While both Penn and Princeton boast strong teams, a 2-0 weekend by the Red would appear to be the least surprising outcome. The gap between the two teams is relatively narrow, with Princeton pulling out a hard fought victory when the two teams met on March 30. Performance against common opposition seems to favor the Red narrowly. Penn lost to Harvard and Brown, both by 5-2 scores. Cornell lost to both of those teams by those scores as well, although the Red did manage to beat Dartmouth, a squad to whom the Quakers lost. The Tigers, on the other hand, have achieved the same outcomes in common matches as the Red have. Such facts point to two very difficult matches.

The players, for their part, evince a cautious optimism.

“Both of the teams are good but beatable,” Cheng says. “We should be favored.”

Of course, injury problems remain a major issue that could be a deciding factor this weekend. Last week, the squad held together well, holding off Yale despite some health problems. However, injury problems with several players, including top singles player Zach Gallin and senior captain Stefan Paulovic remain. So, the Red have a chance to achieve something truly historic this weekend, but tough opposition and health concerns amount to potentially formidable obstacles.

Archived article by Andrew Bernie