While many Cornell students are thinking about how they plan to relax during their final lull between the recent wave of prelims and the dreaded forthcoming finals, the men’s tennis team gets no such reprieve. The team, coached by Barry Schoonmaker, is currently 10-8 (2-3 Ivy) and has its final hump of the regular season to get over against Penn and Princeton this upcoming weekend.
A player who has made a huge impact for the Red has been junior Dan Brous. He’s 12-3 on the season (4-1 in the Ivy League) and has been a team leader for Cornell this year.
“I definitely think I’ve been improving since last year. The extra year of experience definitely helps,” he said. “I’m winning points that I might not have been winning last year.”
When asked what he does to get himself pumped up for a match, Brous replied, “I don’t really have a set ritual, but [junior] Josh Raff has orchestrated a team cheer that pumps the whole team up.”
Brous, a Policy Analysis and Management major, is adept at balancing his academics with his tennis playing.
“I try to do as much work as I can during the day so when I get home from practice I’m not overwhelmed,” he said.
Brous also feels that a new racket may be playing a small part in his improvement this year.
“I got the Head Liquid Metal Prestige,” he said. “I switched to it over the winter. It’s a newer version of the racket I used to use, and I think it’s helped a bit.”
Whatever is responsible for Brous’ success, it is apparent that his teammates feel that he has made a significant leap forward this year.
“I think our team MVP so far is Dan,” said freshman Josh Goldstein. “He’s been a model of consistency.”
Another player who has added to the Red’s success this year is junior Nick Brunner. In the Ivy League, he’s 3-2 in singles play and 4-1 in doubles matches. Brunner offered some keen words on the improvement of his game.
“Last year in the Ivy League, I was close in a lot of matches and I had trouble closing them out,” he said. “But this year, when it gets down to the wire, I’ve been able to focus and keep a level head, and that has helped me close out matches. I feel like I’m in better shape this year, since we’ve been working hard on and off the court.”
Brunner, a Government major, on how he balances school life with athletics: “I’m actually working on a paper right now,” he said, with a chuckle. “It’s been hard, especially in April when we have all these matches back to back. I bring work with me on the road trips, although, I usually end up not opening up my backpack at all. Usually my main focus in on tennis.”
As far as team spirit is concerned, Brunner added, “We’ve bonded better. The new freshmen have worked well in our lineup. Last year our chemistry wasn’t as great – being close to all the guys on the team really helps.”
The strong group of underclassmen combined with what will likely be impeccable senior leadership from Brous and Brunner next year bodes for a bright future for the Red.
Archived article by David Sims
Sun Staff Writer