April 29, 2004

Gallin Ends Tennis Career on the Upswing

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A perfect 7-0 Ivy League record. A national ranking. Wins over three ranked opponents. It was one of best individual seasons in the history of Cornell tennis, and it belongs to senior Zach Gallin.

Gallin, who played at the No. 1 singles spot, is only the fourth netter in school history to go undefeated in conference play. He won five of his Ivy matches in straight sets, and he went 15-3 over his last eighteen matches.

The Long Island native’s success began in the fall. At the ITA Northeast Regional Championships, Gallin advanced into the quarterfinals of the 64-man tournament before losing a very close match to Brown’s Jamie Cerretani.

Gallin continued his strong play in the winter. He earned a 7-5, 6-3 win over No. 115 Malcolm Scatliffe of Penn State. He also defeated Army’s John Sabia, Hugo Leenders of Marquette, and Mario Arce of St. Bonaventure. Arce was last year’s A-10 Player of the Year.

At the HEB Championships in Texas, Gallin managed what was perhaps his most impressive win of the season — a 6-3, 6-4 triumph over No. 60 Jakob Paulsen of Texas Tech. Paulsen had a great season in one of the nation’s toughest conferences — the Big XII. Yet Gallin controlled the match, and showed that he could compete at the highest level of collegiate play.

But Gallin’s best tennis of the year was still to come.

He started on his journey to a perfect Ivy season with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Rajeev Emany of Columbia. Dartmouth’s David Webb managed to take Gallin to a first set tiebreaker, but Gallin eventually proved too much in a 6-1 second set.

Gallin then earned his biggest win of the Ivy season — a skilful 6-4, 6-0 trouncing of Harvard’s No. 83 Jonathan Chu.

But Gallin would need more than just skill in his next match against Yale’s Ryan Murphy. In that contest, Gallin lost the first set, 2-6, but with great heart and determination, he fought back in a 7-6 second set. He then finished off his Eli opponent, 6-2. Brown’s Nick Goldberg would also bring Gallin to three sets, but he eventually fared no better than Murphy.

Princeton’s Daniel Friedman had the unfortunate task of playing Gallin last week, and he would become another straight-set loser, 6-3, 6-1. There was not much that David Lynn of Penn could do to stop Gallin in his Ivy finale, and Gallin won, 6-4, 6-2. After the win, Gallin entered the national rankings for the first time in his collegiate career.

Gallin said before this season that he wanted to earn a first-team All-Ivy selection, and a berth to the NCAA championships. After such a triumphant year — after the hard-fought matches and tiebreakers, after all the powerful serves and careful volleys, after three long seasons — his goals may indeed become reality, and no finish could be more fitting.

Archived article by Ted Nyman
Sun Staff Writer