Despite a hot 11-4 start, the Cornell men’s tennis team remained a squad with something to prove over the past week. Although the Red went into Saturday afternoon’s match with Columbia ranked 72nd in the country, there were still doubts as to whether it could be a serious competitor within its conference. The Red may be on its way to proving itself, as the team began the Ivy League season with a 5-2 win over the Lions at the Reis Tennis Center.
“It was a great match,” said senior co-captain Scott Paltrowitz. “We knew it was going to be really tough going in. The Ivy season is different than all of the other matches we have had so far this year.”
Cornell began the match by squeezing out victories in two of the three doubles matches, with all of the scores ending up at 8-6. At No. 1 doubles, the Columbia team of Saikia and Rao defeated the freshman tandem of Nick Brunner and Josh Raff. Despite the loss at the top of the lineup, the Red bounced back with victories at the No. 2 and No. 3 doubles slots. The senior team of captain Zach Gallin and Scott Spencer won at No. 2, while Paltrowitz, along with junior Abedin Sham pulled out a win at No. 3.
“It was a really intense match,” Paltrowitz said. “The doubles matches were really close and we were just able to pull them out in the end. In the singles matches, we just went out and did what we had to do.”
Paltrowitz could not have said it any better. The Red won at the top four singles positions, with Paltrowitz putting forth an impressive performance in his victory at No. 2 singles. At No. 1, Gallin finished off his opponent in convincing fashion with a straight set victory, 6-3, 6-4. Sophomore Brett McKeon and Spencer also turned in wins in singles matches.
“Columbia is a very good team,” Paltrowitz said. “We have always had trouble with them in the past and it is only the second time we have beaten them since I have been here. Before that, we had not beaten them in 20 years or so.”
Cornell continues its Ivy League schedule on Friday when it faces off against Dartmouth.
Although the men’s team is continuing its success after a terrific start, the women’s tennis team has faltered of late. After a 5-0 beginning to the year, the Red has lost four of its last five, including two losses at home this weekend.
On Friday afternoon, Columbia edged out Cornell 4-3, as the Lions handed the Cornell its first Ivy League loss of the season. The team failed to bounce back yesterday, losing again to Boston College 5-2.
“Actually, we all thought we played pretty well,” said junior co-captain Melissa Tu. “We feel that the losses are good preparation for the Ivy League season.”
Against Columbia, the Red’s lack of production in doubles was too much to overcome. The Lions swept the doubles matches, although each was hotly contested.
“We were in all the matches,” Tu said. “I think many of them could have easily gone our way.” In singles play, the Lions again looked strong at the top part of the draw, with Columbia taking points at both No. 1 and No. 2.
Cornell put forth a valiant effort in the bottom part of the singles order, winning at No. 3, 4, and 6. Junior Erika Takeuchi was the bright spot for Cornell, winning at No. 3 singles in dominating fashion, 6-1, 6-4. Freshmen Kasia Preneta and Nisha Suda also added victories.
Against Boston College, the Red was outmatched, only mustering two points away from the Eagles.
Cornell was swept in doubles play, as well as the top three singles seeds. Preneta and Suda provided the only points for Cornell.
The Red plays rivals Dartmouth and Harvard next weekend.
Archived article by Bryan Pepper
Sun Staff Writer