March 5, 2004

Tough Test at HEBs

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After a red hot 9-1 start to the season, the men’s tennis team will head to Texas this weekend for the 36th annual HEB Collegiate Team Championships. The event will be held at the Corpus Christi Athletic Club and will feature 12 Division I tennis teams from all over the country, including defending champion Texas Tech and No. 1 seed South Alabama.

The tournament will be team based, as the Red will be paired against some of the better teams in the country. The trip will test whether the terrific start is due to the team’s dominance or the fact that it has not been challenged by top of the line competition.

In its first 10 matches, the Red has defeated the likes of Rutgers, Binghamton, and Buffalo by a combined score of 20-1. While the Red must beat teams of this caliber if it wants to compete in the Ivy League, the matches have not tested the Red’s lineup from top to bottom.

In fact, Harvard was the only team to give the Red any trouble, a meet in which the Crimson dominated by a score of 7-0. Although this match did come early in the schedule, Cornell did not show any signs that it would be able to hang with powerhouses like Harvard. The HEB championships will give the Red an opportunity to prove otherwise.

If it is going to perform well in Texas, the Red will rely on its senior captains, Zach Gallin and Scott Paltrowitz, both of whom are coming off impressive wins last weekend against the Bonnies. Gallin, along with partner Scott Spencer edged out a win in No. 1 doubles, while Paltrowitz emerged victorious in No. 2 singles.

Although each of those three players have put together strong seasons thus far, Cornell’s most powerful weapon this weekend will not be their respective performances but rather the depth of the Red team.

While the men’s team hits the road for the weekend, the women’s team will be playing host to UMBC and Massachusetts at the Reis Tennis Center. The Red has opened the season with a 2-0 start in team competition, beating Colgate and Syracuse in convincing fashion. The matches against the Retrievers and the Minutemen will further allow Cornell to tune-up for its tough Ivy League schedule to follow.

“They are both really good teams,” said senior Laura Leigh Tallent.

“We beat UMass last year and lost to UMBC. In previous years we always walked all over them but they just came out strong last season. They should both be pretty good matches.”

Maryland-Baltimore County comes into the meet with a 1-4 record, with losses to Columbia, Army, and Connecticut. Although the Red fell to the Retrievers last season, UMBC has graduated its top two singles players, leaving the current team with only one senior.

Junior Lana Khvalina, who will occupy on of the top singles spots against the Red, leads the young team.

Massachusetts travels to Ithaca with a 5-5 record on the season with losses against Ivy Leaguers Brown, Dartmouth, and Columbia.

The team also fell by a score of 4-3 to the Orangemen, a club the Red easily defeated. The Minutemen are led by junior Stephanie Price, who plays both No. 1 singles and doubles.

The Red will counter with its lone senior, Tallent, and junior co-captains Erika Takeuchi and Melissa Tu. Both of the captains are coming off of wins against Syracuse and look to continue their winning ways this weekend.

“We are playing really well,” said Tallent.

“We are definitely a lot stronger than we were last year and we are hoping for better results.”

Archived article by Bryan Pepper