February 22, 2005

Tennis Battles Through Close Weekend Matches

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In continuing preparation for the Ivy League season, the men and women’s tennis teams recorded mixed results last weekend.

The women, coming off a two-loss trip at the hands of Boston University and Boston College, came back with a vengeance on Saturday afternoon, defeating Marist, 6-1, at the Reis Tennis Center.

“I think everybody played well,” said women’s head coach Laura Glitz. “I think Marist is a little weaker than the teams we played in Boston, but it never hurts to get a win.”

While Glitz and the team were unfamiliar with the Marist squad prior to the match, they came prepared and took the Red Foxes by storm.

In singles play, Cornell No. 1 senior Akane Kokubo and No. 2 sophomore Kasia Preneta cruised to straight sets victories against their Marist counterparts.

Although Cornell’s Mollie Edison dropped a close, 6-4, 7-6(4), match at the number three spot, the Red Foxes were only able to take three games total in the final three singles matches as Erika Takeuchi, Nisha Suda and Melissa Tu all recorded dominating, straight set wins.

“I think the four through six [players] are very strong,” Glitz said. “The whole team has potential, but that’s where we won at B.U. so that’s a big strength for us.”

The women wrapped up the match by sweeping the three doubles matches, with junior Kara Maloy and Preneta capping the win with an 8-0 win over their Marist opponents.

The men’s tennis team, however, was not as fortunate in its results, as it traveled to Michigan for matches against No. 46 Michigan State and No. 49 Michigan. After coming off two home wins over Rutgers and Binghamton, the team knew that they would be facing some tougher competition last weekend.

“They’re both pretty high nationally ranked,” said men’s head coach Barry Schoonmaker. “The whole point of going out there is to go play tough teams to see where we were at … [and] hopefully to pick up a huge win. These guys really need the experience and it’s really good for them to get on the court with teams like that.”

With the men’s team facing MSU on Saturday, Brett McKeon might have faced the toughest challenge in Spartans No. 1 Andrew Formancyzk — the 102nd ranked player in the country. The Cornell junior dropped the match, 6-1, 6-2. However, the Red was able to win two of the other five singles matches with wins from sophomore Josh Raff and freshman Tongle Yu at the number three and six positions, respectively.

Nevertheless, Cornell was unable to generate any team points in doubles, and MSU went on to take the encounter, 5-2.

“We didn’t play bad, but we certainly could’ve played better,” Schoonmaker said. “To make the match closer, we needed to play at a higher level.”

On Sunday, the Red traveled to Ann Arbor, Mich. to face the Wolverines. While five of the six singles matches were decided in three sets, only Cornell sophomore Dan Brous–playing fourth singles–was able to get the victory with a 6-7(3), 6-2, 6-2 win over Michigan’s Steve Peretz.

“I feel like [the Michigan match] was definitely winnable,” Schoonmaker said. “At one point when the match was going on, we were actually winning five of the six matches. It goes to show how getting a little experience helps.”

In doubles, sophomore Nick Brunner and Raff pulledl out a tight, 9-7 win over Wolverines Josef Fischer and Ryan Heller in the number one spot. However, the Red could not clinch the doubles point as it dropped the other two doubles matches.

“We need to keep playing these tough teams and putting these guys in match situations so when we get to the Ivies, they have more confidence in getting the wins,” Schoonmaker said. “That’s why we’re trying to get into these matches with tough teams.”

In upcoming action, the Red women will host Colgate at the Reis Tennis Center on Wednesday, while the men will partake at the HEB championships in Corpus Christi, Texas on March 4.

“Hopefully, it’ll be a good match for us and I’m obviously looking for everyone to play very well,” Glitz said. “I think it’s a winnable match.”

Archived article by BRIAN TSAO
Sun Senior Editor