The men’s tennis team enjoyed a 7-0 win over Dartmouth on Friday, but it was Saturday’s 6-1 loss to No. 21 Harvard that may have been the weekend’s most important match. No. 63 Cornell (13-5, 2-1 Ivy) will now most likely have to go undefeated for the rest of the Ivy season in order to have a chance at earning a NCAA tournament berth.
“We played our hearts out,” said senior Scott Spencer. “We thought we had a very good shot. It was definitely a let down.”
The Crimson (15-5, 2-0 Ivy) won five of the six singles matches, as well as the doubles point. Senior Zach Gallin earned Cornell’s only singles win — a 6-4, 6-0 victory at the No. 1 spot over nationally ranked Jonathan Chu.
The Red’s only other win came at No. 3 doubles, where senior Scott Paltrowitz and junior Abedin Sham knocked off their opponents, 8-6.
The team of Spencer and Gallin played at the No. 2 doubles spot, where the pairing lost a close match against a team that featured national No. 36 David Lingman.
“I really felt like we could win that match,” Spencer said. “It came down to one break of serve.”
With the loss, Cornell drops to third place in the Ivy standings, behind Harvard and Princeton.
Dartmouth (8-10, 0-2) had presented much less of a challenge to the Red.
“The magic number was seven,” Spencer said. “We wanted to win 7-0.”
And the netters did just that.
The Green was outmatched against a deep Cornell lineup, and the Red earned straight-set victories throughout the singles ladder.
Dartmouth did manage to test the Red in doubles play, however. At the No. 1 spot, freshmen Nick Brunner and Josh Raff needed a 9-8 tiebreaker to earn their victory. The Green then managed to win at the No. 2 doubles spot, but not before Paltrowitz and Sham won at the No. 3 spot to guarantee Cornell the early doubles point.
Next week, the netters will travel to face Yale and Brown. Spencer considers both those matches must-wins if the Red is to earn an NCAA tournament berth. “We have to beat Yale. It’s not going to be easy,” he said. “[Against Brown] we’re the underdogs, but I think we can do it.”
Last week, junior Erika Takeuchi said she thought Friday’s match against No. 70 Dartmouth would be a close competition. She was right — but unfortunately for the women’s team (6-6, 0-3 Ivy), it was the Green which came out victorious.
“It was a really good fight,” Takeuchi said. “[The loss] was a little disappointing.”
Although the 5-2 score may not indicate it, the away match was one of Cornell’s closest of the season. The netters offered Dartmouth (13-3, 2-0) a significant challenge throughout the day. The Red sent a number of singles matches to three sets, and the team managed two victories — from juniors Akane Kokubo and Melissa Tu. However, Dartmouth was able to hold off the Red singles charge, as well as take the early doubles point.
On Saturday, the netters traveled to Cambridge to take on No. 21 Harvard (9-9, 2-0). Harvard — who has not lost an Ivy match in two years — defeated the Red, 5-2. Freshmen Kasia Preneta and Nisha Suda earned Cornell’s two singles wins.
Despite the loss, the netters demonstrated some marked improvement over last season, when they did not win a single set against Harvard.
“We’re not intimidated by anyone,” Takeuchi said. “We feel like we’ve been improving.”
Archived article by Ted Nyman
Sun Staff Writer