The men’s tennis team opened up its Ivy League schedule last weekend with a convincing 5-2 win over Columbia. The Red improved its overall record to 12-4, but most importantly, earned its first conference victory of the year.
Unfortunately for the Red, the team will not have long to enjoy it. Cornell will continue its homestand today against rival Dartmouth, followed by tomorrow’s match against Harvard.
“We are really excited going into this weekend,” said senior co-captain Scott Paltrowitz. “This is a great opportunity and a great test for our team. We have two very tough matches this weekend. Every Ivy League match is going to be tough.”
Dartmouth travels to Ithaca with an 8-8 overall record, yet has not been tested by any Ivy League competition. The Green is coming off a win against Williams last Friday, which was led by junior and No. 1 singles player David Webb. He will face off against Paltrowitz, the top Cornell singles player.
“We are probably favored going into the match [against Dartmouth], but it is definitely going to be tough,” Paltrowitz said.
For a team with goals of a league championship and an NCAA tournament bid, the match against Dartmouth is a must win for the Red, especially since the match on the following day comes against a nationally ranked opponent.
“We are going up against Harvard on Saturday,” Paltrowitz said. “They are ranked in the top 15 in the country, but, we are confident that we can give them a run for their money and hopefully we can take them down.”
The Crimson’s high ranking is due to its outstanding 13-5 record, with many of the losses coming against some of the best teams in the country. Harvard just returned home from its annual California trip, which ended with a loss to No. 23 Pepperdine. The Crimson is led by its No. 25-ranked senior, Dave Lingman. Despite the weekend’s challenges, Paltrowitz remains confident.
“We have been very focused this week during practice,” he said. “Hopefully we can keep that mindset going into the weekend.”
The women’s tennis team, loser of four of its last five, will try to rebound this weekend against the Green and the Crimson. The Red is coming off losses against Boston College and Columbia, giving the team a 0-1 beginning to the Ivy League season. The two league matches this weekend will give Cornell an opportunity to revert to the team that started the season 5-0.
“We are really positive going into this weekend,” said junior co-captain Erika Takeuchi. “Although we had a tough weekend, we came out of it feeling prepared for the matches ahead.”
No. 69 Dartmouth has experienced a great deal of success so far this season, compiling an 11-3 overall record. However, none of those 11 wins have come against the Ivy League, as Cornell’s visit to Hanover will be the first Ivy contest of the season for the Green.
“The match against Dartmouth is going to be really close,” Takeuchi said. “We have been practicing all year for the Ivy League matches and we hope that our preparation will have an impact this weekend.”
After Dartmouth, the Red’s competition will not get any easier. Although the Crimson only has a 7-9 overall record, the team is currently ranked No. 26, and its poor record is not indicative of its ability. The Harvard women’s team also just returned from its California trip, where it fell last Saturday to Pepperdine.
“We are going to try to take everything we have been working on and apply it in the matches,” Takeuchi said. “I think we have a really good chance.”
Archived article by Bryan Pepper
Sun Staff Writer