October 16, 2006

W. Tennis Sweeps Mock Duals; Men Play Shootout

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While the women’s tennis team defended home turf in the annual mock duals at the Reis Tennis Center, the men’s squad made a good showing at the Army Shootout in West Point, N.Y.

The women handily defeated both UMass and Binghamton by scores of 8-1 on Saturday. The Red took 7-of-8 singles matches and 3-of-4 doubles matches against each school. Mock duals, however, don’t count for team standings, which puts less pressure on players heading into competition.

“All our big matches are in the spring,” said senior co-captain Nisha Suda. “These are practice matches for that.”

The men faced off against Army, and in a rematch of their previous meeting in the ECAC championships, Yale. The Red swept all six matches against Army in singles play on Saturday.

Sophomore Marc Asch won seven straight points to win his match against Army’s Chris Albornoz (6-4, 6-7, 10-7). Asch won the Flight D singles title at the Cornell Fall Invitational.

The Red had more trouble against Yale, playing the Bulldogs even with three doubles wins each on Saturday. Though the No. 1 team of junior Weston Nichols and sophomore Bryant Yung lost to Army’s Kevin and Sean Harris (8-4), the Red came back to win the next two matches to finish its showing at the Army Shootout.

This tournament offered a chance for Cornell players not attending Regionals to get some experience on a relaxing road trip.

“Any match when I don’t herniate a disc is a success,” Asch said.
Suda views the team’s doubles play as one of the biggest improvements for the Red at the mock duals.

[img_assist|nid=18941|title=Hit not miss|desc=Sophomore Tongle Yu (pictured) defeated Army’s Johnny Lucero by a score of 6-3, 6-2 at the Army Shootout.|link=popup|align=left|width=93|height=100]

“We’ve been working a lot with our doubles,” Suda said. “We tried a lot of new combinations [on Saturday].”

The pairing of sophomores Catherine Duboc and Shayna Miller had solid wins against UMass at the second doubles slot (8-3) and Binghamton at the first doubles slot (8-3). The team had previously won the Flight A doubles title at the Cornell Fall Invitational.

In the fourth doubles slot, the regular team of juniors Dana Cruite and Weatherly Schwab defeated both UMass (9-7) and Binghamton (8-1). Cruite and Schwab overcame a UMass comeback to take the match.
“We were up by a lot, then we kind of choked and we got tied,” Cruite said. “Managing to calm down and regroup … was really a good lesson.”

Cruite also had individual success, never dropping more than one game in either of her matches at No. 7 singles. She beat UMass freshman Dasa Stanimiovic (6-1, 6-0) and Binghamton sophomore Alex Sinclair (8-0), playing a pro set when they were crunched for time.

“We competed really well even though we knew it was just a practice,” Cruite said.

It was a tough day for senior co-captain Kasia Preneta, who dropped 3-of-4 matches with the lone win in the first singles bracket against Binghamton senior Lya Kushnirovich (6-3, 6-7, 10-7).

The Red was scheduled to take on a third opponent yesterday, but Mother Nature also had a hand in this weekend’s tennis action. The second day of play in the mock duals was cancelled when rival Buffalo could not make the trip.

“Because of snow in Buffalo, they wouldn’t let them travel,” Suda said.

Barring another show of precipitation, the men will travel to Philadelphia next weekend to compete in the ITA Northeast Regionals running from Friday till next Tuesday. The women will head to regionals in Hanover, N.H., from Thursday to Sunday.

“It’s an individual tournament,” Suda said. “But personally, I’m just using it for practice. My main focus is how the team does.”