October 13, 2006

W. Tennis Plays Host, Men Away

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The men’s and women’s tennis teams are aiming to net some more wins this weekend as the men travel to West Point, N.Y., for the Army Shootout and the women host the Mock Duals in Ithaca at the Reis Tennis Center.

The men will try to build upon their recent success when they take on the squads from Army and Yale. The Red has come up with a pair of titles in its several finals appearances in this season’s tournaments so far. Sophomore Marc Asch won the Flight D singles title at the Cornell Fall Tennis Invitational and the tandem of senior tri-captains Dan Brous and Josh Raff were crowned doubles champions at the Princeton Farnsworth Invitational. Last weekend, Raff and senior tri-captain Nicholas Brunner scored a huge win over the No. 7 seed from Wake Forest at the All-American championships in Tulsa, Okla.

The men also posted an important win over Dartmouth, 6-1, at the ECAC championships, but fell to Brown the next day, 5-2. Yale also defeated the Red in a grueling marathon match, 4-3, handing the team its second ECAC loss — a loss that may be avenged this weekend if the men have individual success against the Bulldogs.

While the top singles players will stay in Ithaca and train for the ITA Northeast Regionals, men’s head coach Barry Schoonmaker considers the tournament a great opportunity for the players not attending regionals to get some matches under their belts.

“The biggest problem I’ve got is deciding the line-up,” Schoonmaker said. “All of these guys are good and they’re pretty even. There’s no giant hierarchy that decides who plays which spot.”

“Mock” or “hidden” duals may sound like they are just unimportant scrimmages, but the matches will provide the Red with opportunities to play future opponents without having the pressure to improve its record. The individual results, however, do count, so the mock duals can be an opportunity for Cornell players to build a strong singles or doubles record.

Junior Ashley Ebbert wants to get the most she can out of the mock duals.

“It’s obviously good practice,” Ebbert said. “We’ll see these teams again in the spring when the matches do count, so the mock duals give us an opportunity to see what we’re going to be up against.”

The women will field a full team on their home turf as they look to keep their recent success rolling against Binghamton, Buffalo, and UMass. Sophomore Elizabeth Googe claimed the B flight singles crown while her classmates Shayna Miller and Catherine Duboc won the A flight doubles title at the Cornell Fall Invitational. Over fall break junior Weatherly Schwab paired with a non-Cornell player to win the Flight V doubles title at the USAFA Invitational at Colorado Springs, Colo.

Ebbert is bringing the same game face to the mock duals as she and her teammates have brought to their previous tournaments.

“We’re always getting more match tough,” Ebbert said. “We want to send a message to our opponents that we’re ready to compete.

The Red is not only extremely competitive, but downright merciless.

“We want to win every match,” Ebbert said.