September 25, 2006

Netters Try Out New Lineups

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The men’s and women’s tennis teams hit the road this past weekend with mixed success in tough fields of competition as the men traveled to Princeton, and the women to Penn for separate invitationals.

[img_assist|nid=18527|title=Full coverage|desc=Sophomore Josh Goldstein picks up a forehand during an A flight match at the Cornell Fall Invitational two weeks ago. (Robert Bonow / Sun Photo Editor)|link=popup|align=left|width=73|height=100]

The men took part in the Farnsworth/Princeton Invitational where they squared off against opponents from over nine schools, including several Ivy foes, Rutgers, UVA, and St. Joseph’s. The women participated in the Cissie Leary Invitational, an annual tournament named in memory of a former Penn tennis coach.

The men’s team posted a solid 9-6 record in play Saturday, and continued its successful play in a busy schedule yesterday. An A flight doubles championship by senior tri-captains Josh Raff and Dan Brous and an appearance in the B flight doubles final by junior Rory Heggie and sophomore Peter Kung highlighted the weekend for the men.

“We had a lot of success in doubles this weekend,” Heggie said. “People were playing with different partners. Josh hadn’t played with Dan before, I hadn’t played with Pete before, but we managed to get to the finals, and Josh and Dan won.”

Raff and Brous narrowly escaped defeat in the A doubles semifinal with a 9-8 win, but clinched the doubles title with a solid 8-5 pro set over a challenging Yale tandem. In the B flight, Heggie and Kung dismantled teams from Rutgers and Yale in the quarters and semis, but lost the final match, 8-6, to UVA by a single break of serve.

In A flight singles action, Raff, the No. 3 — who was recently nationally ranked No. 104 in Division I men’s singles and No. 40 in men’s doubles with regular partner senior tri-captain Nick Brunner — earned a bye in the first round, but fell, 3-6, 6-3, 6-0, to Justin Fox of Penn in the second round. Sophomore Josh Goldstein lost his first match, 6-3, 6-1, to Rutgers’ Arjun Vaidya, but came back to post wins in the consolation bracket. Brous upset the eighth seed, Yale’s Jeff Dawson, in straight sets, but lost, 7-5, 6-3, in the second round to Alex Vuckovic of Princeton.

Heggie, the third seed of the B flight singles draw, made quick work of Michael Stauble of St. Joseph’s in a 6-2, 6-2 first round match. He extended his hot streak in a tough 7-5, 6-7, 7-3 win over Andy Magnes of Penn, but lost a tight three-set match in the quarterfinals to Columbia’s Justin Chow.

While the men’s head coach Barry Schoonmaker was able to enter eight players in competition this weekend, women’s head coach Laura Glitz could bring only three players — senior co-captain Nisha Suda, sophomore Tamara John, and sophomore Elizabeth Googe — to the Cissie Leary Invitational.

Googe — who won the B flight singles title at the Cornell Invitational two weeks ago — won a solid first-round match, 6-2, 6-4, against Princeton’s Darcy Robertson. Unfortunately, this was the team’s only main draw victory, as Googe fell in a nailbiter of a 6-3, 4-6, 10-7 second round match to the third seed, Milena Kachar of Columbia.

“We had a lot of tough matches in both singles and doubles,” Suda said. “We played against really good schools — Big 10 schools, colleges outside our region, Harvard and some other Ivies. It’s really going to help us prepare for our fall break trip in Colorado. That’s our new priority.”

In the first round, Suda lost to Minnesota’s Alex Seaton and John lost to Princeton’s Ivana King.

In the doubles draws, Suda and John formed a team while Googe played with Angela Dipastina of Ohio State to form the second pair, neither of which advanced past the first round. In spite of these early losses, the Red turned things around and won several consolation matches on Saturday.

“It’s nice to have the chance to play in one big draw,” Googe said. “Matches don’t usually work that way. Everyone starts out in the same draw. You don’t know if you’ll play Penn’s No. 5 girl or Harvard’s No. 1 girl. I played the No. 1 from Princeton and the No. 1 from Columbia — that’s good competition.”

Such tough competition should help prepare the Red for the USAFA Invitational in Colorado, held Oct. 6-8.

The men’s team is also looking forward to next weekend, when it will play its biggest tournament of the fall, the ECAC championships in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. If the Red does well, it will compete in the national tournament on indoor courts in February.