April 18, 2003

Tennis Takes on Yale, Brown

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The men’s and women’s tennis teams head into their second to last weekend of play beginning today. The men will host their first Ivy League match when they take to the courts against Yale, and then round out the weekend tomorrow against Brown.

“Traditionally, the Cornell-Yale matches have been super close battles,” said men’s head coach Barry Schoonmaker.

Brown, the men’s other opponent, will also provide a tough match. Besides being strong in both the singles and doubles matches, Brown is last year’s defending Ivy League champion.

The men may have an added challenge this weekend as their No. 1 singles player, junior Zach Gallin, continues to be questionable for the matches.

“He might play one match for us,” said head coach Barry Schoonmaker. “We’re sort of just taking it as it comes.”

Gallin suffered a shoulder injury earlier in the season and has been struggling to get back to his usual form. Without Gallin, the Red will have to rely on freshman phenom Brett McKeon, and junior Scott Spencer.

“The kid hasn’t lost yet this year in the singles,” said Schoonmaker of Spencer. “He’s also been one of our best doubles players.”

The coach’s comments about McKeon were similar.

“He’s done a great job this year,” Schoonmaker said. “We’re going to need him.”

If the Red is to right the ship this weekend, it will need solid efforts from junior Julian Cheng at the No. 1 spot, as well as from fellow junior Michael Schlappig and McKeon, who each had straight-set victories in the match against Dartmouth. Cheng and Schlappig paired up to earn a victory at the No. 2 doubles spot against the Green as well.

The men come in with 2-2 mark in the Ivy League, 15-6 overall, with a loss to Columbia by a score of 4-3, and a defeat to nationally-ranked Harvard, 5-2.

Spencer said of the tough losses, “We have battled in some close matches this season and played hard. Sometimes we’ve come up a little short.”

He also noted that the team is happy to be back on familiar turf.

“It’s good to finally get to play back in Ithaca, and have the rest of the league come to us.”

The woman’s team comes into this weekend at Yale and Brown, hoping to snap a seven-match losing streak, dating back to its spring break trip down to Florida. Last weekend, the Red faced a tough test in the 18th-ranked team nationally, Harvard. The women did not win a match in the entire contest against some of the best competition in the country.

Against Dartmouth, the Red almost squeaked out a victory, getting straight set-victories at the No. 1 and 4 singles spots by sophomore Akane Kokubo and junior Nicole Chiu, respectively. The two teamed up to take the No. 1 doubles spot, and along with the team of sophomores Erika Takeuchi and Melissa Tu, earned the doubles point. The match came down to the last set, with Dartmouth’s Evelyn Stephens edging out Tu in a grueling three-set match at the No. 6 singles spot.

Archived article by Chris Mascaro