While their peers may have spent Spring Break engaging in acts of rejuvenating leisure or unspeakable debauchery, the Cornell men’s and women’s tennis teams were both hard at work, competing in dual meets throughout Texas and California. The overall results of the Texas road trip were mixed for the men, who defeated Texas Tyler and Tyler Jr. College, while losing to Texas Arlington and SMU. The trip was humbling for the women, who lost to Boise Sate and Loyola Marymount in California. The Cornell men currently sit at an overall record of nine wins and five losses, while the women fell to a record of six wins and three losses.
The men traveled to Texas for a week of competition, and left Friday with two victories and two defeats. Their first match against Texas Arlington was a close bout, with Cornell splitting the singles points three to three, and losing the decisive doubles point by one match. Junior Josh Raff, junior Dan Brous, and sophomore Rory Heggie claimed relatively easy singles victories in the second, fourth and sixth positions, while Raff and junior Nick Brunner earned a tight 8-6 win in the top doubles match.
“Honestly, that match was one we let slip away,” said head coach Barry Schoonmaker. “We were up 3-2, and all we needed was one more. Although we lost, I’m proud of the guys because they fought like crazy.”
Coach Schoonmaker mentioned that all of the Texas teams were strong competition, and that the Red performed well considering it was their first outdoor tennis of 2006. Cornell had its practice disrupted on Sunday by torrential rain, and faced gusts of wind exceeding 30 mph in its match against Texas Arlington.
The Cornell men rebounded on Wednesday with a 5-2 victory against Tyler Jr. College, an opponent annually ranked among the top-3 Junior Colleges in the country. Cornell dominated the singles competition, 5-1, with senior Brett McKeon winning the first position, Raff winning the second, Brunner taking the third, and freshman Kyle Doppelt and sophomore Tongle Yu winning the fifth and sixth positions.
Cornell finished the week with a 7-0 loss to SMU and a 7-0 win over Texas Tyler. Coach Schoonmaker stressed that the loss to SMU was closer than the score indicated.
“Well, against SMU, it was freezing cold outside. It was 41 degrees, and they didn’t have indoor courts, so it was impossible to play anywhere close to our best tennis. Still, we played hard, and we lost a lot of close matches. Overall, this trip was excellent, because we played three good teams and we got dirty and competed. It’s good to get outside and deal with adversity, and to get a little tougher.”
Like their male counterparts, the Cornell women traveled over the break and experienced outdoor tennis for the first time this year. And while the weather in Southern California was pleasant, the competition proved to be anything but hospitable, as Cornell fell 7-0 to Boise State and 5-2 to Loyola Marymount. Head coach Laura Glitz said that there was “no comparison” between Cornell’s earlier opponents, who Cornell had faced en route to a six and one record, and the teams in California. Boise State is ranked 54th in the country, while Loyola Marymount is 47th.
“The match against Boise State was much closer than the score says,” Glitz said. Junior Nisha Suda lost her singles match on a marathon third set tiebreaker, 13-11, while freshmen Catherine Duboc and Elizabeth Googe both had narrow defeats in the fifth and sixth positions.
“With a couple different breaks, the score could’ve easily been 4-3. Our fight and team camaraderie was great,” Glitz said.
Against Loyola Marymount on Friday, Cornell lost 5-2, with Duboc and Googe earning victories in their singles matches.
“Friday was probably the best I played this season,” said Googe. “I was pretty warm from a close doubles match right before my single one, so I went out to a really big early lead and held it. I felt very relaxed, and it was a good win.”
Googe was also quick to praise her teammates, especially Duboc, who endured a 20-minute tiebreaking point in her 7-6 (10), 6-2 singles win.
“That was a good win psychologically for Catherine,” Googe said.
In the wake of their road trips, both the men’s and women’s coaches were encouraged by their respective performances, and both expect the experience to help as preparation for their upcoming Ivy League schedules.
The men and women both face Columbia this upcoming Saturday, with the men in Ithaca and the women in New York City.
Archived article by Stephen Davis
Sun Staff Writer