October 20, 2005

M. Tennis Set for Northeast Regionals

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Coming off a strong finish at the Army Shootout, the men’s tennis team will look to keep the momentum going into the Northeast Regionals, which begin today in Hanover, N.H. The tournament will give the Red a chance to test its skills against numerous competitors. Head coach Barry Schoonmaker, while confident about his team’s chances, admitted the elite field will pose a challenge to his squad.

“This tournament features the top-96 players in the Northeast, and so it will be a great chance to see how we stack up,” Schoonmaker said.

Both the winner and runner-up of the singles tournament at the Northeast Regional, as well as the doubles winners, will qualify for the National Indoors Championships – one of the grand slams of collegiate tennis. The Regionals, unlike the Shootout, is not a team tournament, but instead the players are entered into a bracket as individual competitors.

The Red is coming off a 1-2 performance at the Army Shootout, in which it lost to Penn State and Yale on the first day before rebounding to defeat Army on Sunday. The Shootout, held in West Point, N.Y., was a two-day tournament featuring the aforementioned four teams. The Red was pleased with its performance against the tough competition, but it always strives for improvement.

“I thought [the Shootout] went pretty well,” Schoonmaker said. “We were beaten by PSU, and they were just a better team. We could have played a little better against Yale. We did a great job Sunday morning in the sweep against Army.”

The Red used this opportunity to let freshman and newcomers alike gain valuable experience, which will be useful in building towards the future. Schoonmaker was pleased with the performances put forth by the inexperienced unit.

“[Freshman] Josh Goldstein did very well. He played some very good doubles, and he went 1-2 in singles – but played pretty well,” Schoonmaker said.

However, the Northeast Regionals are an exclusive tournament and only the Red’s top-4 players – senior Brett McKeon, and juniors Dan Brous, Josh Raff and Nick Brunner – will be competing. The Regionals will feature players from between 40 to 50 different schools, all of which are among the best in the Northeast. However, Schoonmaker and his players are not daunted by the stiff competition.

“Nick and Josh haven’t lost, so they should be top seeds and will be going in with the hopes of winning the whole thing. Our number one guy, Brett, may not be a favorite, but should be a strong outside contender,” Schoonmaker said.

Heading into Regionals, it is important for the players to stick to what has worked for them, and keep practicing and working hard.

“We just have to focus on keeping in good shape,” McKeon said. “We have to keep doing sprints and running, and that will give us an advantage in the Regionals.”

Schoonmaker feels that thus far, the Red has done a pretty good job overall, but admits there is room for improvement. He especially would like to see his team play better against top competition, which will be a must if Cornell is to succeed this time around. The squad knows it will have to work hard, but feels it has a good chance to compete and succeed.

“The team is playing well right now, and we are pretty optimistic about our chances,” McKeon said.

Archived article by Jeremy Drucker
Sun Contributor