Yesterday marked the end of the 2003 Intercollegiate Tennis Association Northeast Men’s Regional Championships held at the Reis Tennis Center. After showing interest for several years, Cornell was finally given the opportunity to host the event, the second of three national championship competitions for college tennis. The singles finalist and doubles champion from the event earned the right to compete in the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships at the University of Michigan on Nov. 6-9.
“It was a great opportunity to host a tournament of this importance,” said Cornell head coach Barry Schoonmaker. “All the preparation was more work than I imagined but it was all worth it to bring something like that here.”
Although the Red was playing on its home court, its performance at the event was “marginal,” according to Schoonmaker. The Red started off the weekend with six competitors and had this number dwindled down to none by yesterday’s final round.
“A lot of guys didn’t play their best,” said Schoonmaker.
In opening round singles action, Cornell’s senior Aravinda Neuman defeated Chris McCoy of Boston College in three sets while sophomore Ray Wu dropped a two-set match to Dartmouth’s Drew Dinkmeyer. Freshman Nic Brunner also advanced with a victory over Penn’s Anthony Pu. In doubles, the duo of seniors Zach Gallin and Scott Spencer defeated a team from Navy, 8-2.
In second round play on Saturday, 16th-seeded Gallin, Cornell’s bright spot of the tournament, made quick work of Brown’s Eric Thomas after receiving a first round bye. Gallin, along with teammate Spencer, also easily dispatched a team from Binghamton, 8-2. The Red’s third-seeded doubles team of Brunner and freshman Joshua Raff advanced to the third round with an 8-5 victory over Columbia.
The Red also had three players ousted from the tournament in the second round. Justin Slattery of Boston College upset eighth-seeded senior Scott Paltrowitz, while Neuman suffered a loss to Jack Li of Harvard in a very competitive three set match. Brunner also lost his singles match to Mike Crooks of Stony Brook.
In the third round, the team of Gallin and Spencer was defeated by a team from Columbia, 9-8, in a tightly contested match. The team of Brunner and Raff moved into the quarterfinals with an 8-6 victory over Boston College. The pair followed this accomplishment with an 8-6 defeat of Penn State to advance to the semifinals. Unfortunately for Brunner and Raff, they fell to an unseeded Harvard team, 8-6, in the semis.
“They did a great job,” said Schoonmaker of Brunner and Raff. “They have only been together five weeks and they have already beaten Columbia, Princeton, Yale, Dartmouth and Penn State.”
Gallin also put together an excellent performance this weekend. Gallin defeated Rohan Saika of Columbia in a thrilling three-set third round match. He then advanced to the quarterfinals by easily beating Dan Hanegby of Binghamton. In the quarters, Gallin was opposed by eventual tournament champion Jamie Cerretani of Brown. Gallin fell to Cerretani 7-2(6), 6-4. Cerretani won not only the singles crown, but also the doubles title with teammate Adil Shamasdin.
“The guy who won it’s toughest match was with Zach and if a couple points go the other way he would have been there,” said Schoonmaker. “Zach proved that he could go head-to-head with any of the best guys in the northeast.”
The Red does not have any more scheduled matches this year and will resume its season on Feb. 7 at Penn State.
“This tournament let’s us know that we can definitely compete at the top of our lineup,” said Schoonmaker. “We have to keep working hard and hopefully we will be playing our best tennis by April.”
Archived article by Bryan Pepper