February 26, 2004

M. Tennis on a Roll

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“This is the best team I have been on since I have been at Cornell,” senior right-hander Scott Spencer said.

And he may be right. The men’s tennis team has begun its season with an 8-1 overall record, defeating its last six opponents by convincing margins. The Red will take its six game winning streak against St. Bonaventure today at the Reis Tennis Center.

Since opening up the winter season, the Red has posted a perfect 6-0 record, beating Colgate, Penn State, Binghamton, Rutgers, Army and Buffalo. But the most impressive part is that it has won those matches by a combined score of 33-9. Cornell suffered its last loss on October 5th against Harvard.

The winning streak can not be credited to one player, as the Red has received contributions from its entire lineup. Last weekend, in the Red’s 6-1 thrashing of Buffalo, the Red lost both the No.1 singles and doubles matches, but dominated the lower part of the draw.

Against Army, the Red dug itself into an early hole by again losing at No. 1 doubles. But, the team rebounded by winning four of the six singles matches to hold off the Black Knights, 4-3.

The Red will be expected to do the same against the Bonnies.

“This is something we are excited about,” said Spencer. “We expect to win and then travel to Texas.”

After Thursday’s meet, the Red will visit Corpus Christi, Texas for the HEB Championships on March 5. The tournament will further prepare Cornell for the Ivy League play to follow. The Red will be truly tested when it faces some of its tougher foes.

“We have a lot of seniors on the team,” said Spencer. “We have very high expectations and all of the seniors have huge hopes for this season. Our ultimate goal is to make it to the NCAA championships.”

But first, the Red must focus on the Bonnies before playing out the harder part of its schedule. St. Bonaventure enters the meet with 6-5 record, coming off a loss at the hands of Penn State. Cornell easily defeated the Nittany Lions 5-2 on February 7th.

The Bonnies are led by junior Mario Arce, recently named Atlantic Ten Performer of the Week for the second time this month. Arce plays both No. 1 singles and doubles for the Bonnies and has posted an impressive 9-2 record at No. 1 singles this season. Arce will face off against senior co-captain Scott Paltrowitz, who is trying to rebound from a personal loss against Buffalo last weekend.

But Arce will not be able to do it alone. The Bonnies will have to defeat the bottom of Cornell’s lineup, matches in which Cornell has had an advantage this season.

Archived article by Bryan Pepper