As both the men’s and women’s tennis teams set to open their Ivy League schedules this weekend at Columbia, both teams understand the importance of this opener and the tone it will set for the rest of the season.
Men’s head coach Barry Schoonmaker noted that the focal point for his team’s success is in the ability of his top players to perform for the Red (7-5).
“The key for us in our match-up with Columbia is for our top guys to play very well,” Schoonmaker said. “The top of our lineup, including [junior Brett] McKeon, [sophomore Nick] Brunner, [sophomore] Josh Raff, and [sophomore Dan] Brous need to really set the tone and win matches for us.”
Columbia boasts a deep squad, making the play of Cornell’s top stars more vital.
“We play in a very competitive league,” Schoonmaker said. “The difficulty of our league also is that we only play each team once, making each game more significant. Since Columbia is deep and everyone can play well, we certainly need to come out with energy and win the matches we’re supposed to win.”
The men’s tennis team faced off against two nationally ranked opponents over its spring break trip, and came out on the losing end in both affairs. Schoonmaker’s crew won its match against Dayton in Orlando to kick off the trip, but followed that with two consecutive losses to ranked foes Air Force and Pacific, each by scores of 4-3.
“It was a good trip,” Schoonmaker said. “Although I would have liked to have won those matches, I thought it was a positive experience for everyone.”
Women’s head coach Laura Glitz’s team, boasting an 8-3 overall mark heading into league play, will face Columbia to begin their Ivy season tomorrow. With seven games remaining in the season, all against Ivy League foes, it is a critical time for Glitz to have her team playing well.
“I think the significance of beating Columbia [is that] this would start on us on a positive note for our other Ivy League matches,” Glitz said. “I think the team is ready to play, we’ve been working hard, we are match tough, we have won quite a few matches and the team is playing well. It’s just a matter of letting it all out on the court.”
The women traveled to Hawaii over the break and dropped a match to Division II’s most dominating team, BYU-Hawaii. The Red became the Seasiders 112th consecutive victim, losing the match 5-2. The Red had their own winning streak — a stretch of eight victories — stopped by the Seasiders.
“I knew [BYU-Hawaii] were going to be tough and I am glad we played a team like that,” Glitz said. “The one bright thing about our Hawaii trip was winning the doubles point in all three matches. We are playing good doubles and I think this will definitely help us in our Ivy matches.”
The difficulty for the Red was competing on the singles level. BYU-Hawaii boasts four of the top 15 players in Division-II play, as well as five of the top 36 athletes, posing touch match ups for the Red. The Red’s lone victories came in doubles competition, as the teams of Erika Takeuchi and Melissa Tu, as well as Kara Maloy and Kasia Preneta came away with wins of 9-7 and 8-3 respectively.
“The keys to beating Columbia are simple — we have to go into the match and play our game and play the way we are capable of playing,” Glitz said. “If this happens the winning will take care of itself. They are coming to play on our turf and we need to take it to them. The team is psyched to play and I am excited about starting the Ivy Season.”
Archived article by Josh Fox
Sun Staff Writer