March 18, 2005

Tennis Faces New Foes Over Break

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Spring break may be a time for some of us to waste away the day on the beach, relaxing from a stressful first half of the semester, but for members of the Red’s tennis program it is a time to continue playing, and hopefully, for the team, continue winning. Both the men’s and women’s teams will get a break from the Ithaca winter as they travel to Florida and Hawaii, respectively, for matches over break.

The men will be taking an abridged tour of Florida as they play in three cities. On March 21, the Red (6-3) will face off against the Dayton squad (7-5), which has won three of its last four matches.

After Dayton, the men take on Air Force (12-3) and follow up with a match against Pacific. The Tigers (6-4) may prove to be a test for the Red, as they have won two in a row. The Red has never faced any of these teams.

“[Playing new teams is] pretty exciting,” said head coach Barry Schoonmaker. “[It is] always good to get out there against teams you’ve never played before to see where you stand.”

The final match the Red has over the break is against Stetson. Unlike the other teams the men are facing off against, the Hatters are not an unfamiliar foe.

“We’ve played Stetson several times,” Schoonmaker said. “Three years ago they beat us in a really close 3-4 match, and then the next year we beat them in another close one. Seems like we have a pretty decent rivalry going with them.”

The trip on the whole should prove to be an important bridge between the recent non-conference play and the upcoming Ivy League competition.

“This is where we will find out who should be in our lineup for the Ivies and hopefully we’ll be able to find out our best doubles as well,” Schoonmaker said.

The women’s team will be just as busy over the vacation. The Red (6-2) is scheduled to play three matches in a four-day period.

“We’ve all been looking forward to [this trip] for a long time,” said senior Akane Kokubo. “Every year we go on spring break for tennis, and this year it’s in Hawaii, which is amazing.”

The team’s opening match is against Hawaii. The Rainbows (4-9) have struggled so far this season, but are coming off their best performance of the year after sweeping their last match against Bloomsburg, 7-0. The Red will remain in Honolulu for its next two matches against Xavier and BYU-Hawaii. Xavier (8-5) has had an up-and-down season, after starting with four wins in a row.

BYU-Hawaii (8-0) has been dominant, dropping only three matches in eight contests. The team is riding an unprecedented 109-match win streak. Despite this statistic, the Red is ready for the challenge.

“I think everybody is on a roll right now,” Kokubo said. “Winning six matches in a row has given us the confidence to play hard against anyone.”

Archived article by Ben Kopelman
Sun Contributor