February 3, 2004

Netters Strong in Return From Layoff

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After a four month winter hiatus, the men’s and women’s tennis teams returned to the Reis Tennis Center courts this past weekend for the start of the spring season. The women competed in the three-day Cornell Winter Invitational against Columbia, Binghamton, St. Bonaventure, Army and the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, enjoying several fine performances against tough opponents over the long weekend. The men entertained local rival Colgate on Sunday, cruising to a 6-1 victory.

Leading up to the new season, the Red aimed to stay sharp during the break. For senior Scott Spencer, winter is a time to “go home and work with your old coaches and hitting partners.” Some have bigger fish to fry, like Zach Gallin, Scott Paltrowitz and Matt Cherner-Ranft, who all helped the U.S. to a gold medal in the Maccabiah Games in Chile.

The men’s team put forth a “solid, workmanlike team effort” against the Red Raiders, according to head coach Barry Schoonmaker. The Red swept the doubles point and won all but the number one singles match. According to sophomore Brett McKeon, “every single player on our team fought with a lot of guts and heart,” and all were integral in dispatching a Colgate team that had “nothing to lose.”

The men next faces Penn State, which Schoonmaker views as “a real test” and a team that is “probably better than almost all the Ivies.” All the team’s seniors, including Scott Paltrowitz, will be angling for revenge against the Nittany Lions, who handed the Red a “heartbreaking” 4-3 loss last year.

Women

At the first day of competition at the Winter Invitational, the women rolled to a 14-3 match record and advanced players at all four flights of competition. After Saturday, all of the Red’s singles players had fallen to the consolation bracket, in which junior Erika Takeuchi and freshman Kasia Preneta would claim titles in their respective flights.

As for Cornell’s doubles pairs, the ‘A’ flight squad of Takeuchi and junior Akane Kokubo advanced to the finals with an 8-6 triumph over UMBC, but eventually fell to Army, 8-3. In the ‘B’ flight doubles championship, senior Laura-Leigh Tallent and sophomore Liying Wang overcame a 2-7 deficit to a Cornell/Columbia hybrid team and took the title. Head coach Tom Brownlie expressed his pleasure at the Red’s doubles successes.

“This past fall we spent more time working on doubles and it seems to have paid off,” he said. “This may be one of the strongest doubles showings we have had in several years.”

Both Red teams viewed the weekend as a chance to hone skills and make adjustments.

“The Winter Invitational was a good way to see how we currently stand, and made us realize what improvements need to be made in order to gear up for the Ivy season,” junior Melissa Tu said.

The men travel to University Park this coming Saturday while the women are in action the following Saturday against Colgate.


Archived article by Dan Schiff