The women’s tennis team opened its spring duals season with confidence, hosting Albany at the Reis Tennis Center on Saturday. The Red topped the Great Danes, 6-1.
“The unity that we started with will help prepare us for the season,” said senior co-captain Kasia Preneta.
Coming off the Cornell Winter Invitational two weeks ago, in which the Red won the Flight A, B and C titles, head coach Laura Glitz used this weekend to get some match experience for players not in the regular lineup.
The usual starters got some practice as well, though. Preneta, playing at No. 1 singles, beat Albany’s Aimee Kern, 6-0, 6-0. She believed that she was able to win points fast on the strength of her serve.
“My serve was on,” Preneta said. “I was able to hit a lot of my first serves, so that gave me confidence.”
The rest of the singles matches, save one, went off without a hitch. No. 3 singles proved to be frustrating for both the competitors and bystanders.
Sophomore Catherine Duboc, looking upset and lacking her usual concentration and intensity, dropped the first set to Albany’s Kim Weltman, 6-2. Duboc fought back to win the second set, however, in a tiebreaker, 7-6 (7-5).
By this time, all of the other matches were over and the Red gathered around the center court in a show of support for its tense teammate.
“I feel like the cheering was intense,” Preneta said. “That always adds to the player’s motivation on the court.”
For a time, it looked like the cheering helped. In the tiebreaker to decide the match, Duboc found her footing immediately and jumped out to a commanding 6-0 lead.
However, it wouldn’t last. After the score hit 7-2, Duboc “fell off the game plan [to hit to the girl’s weaker backhand],” according to Glitz.
Weltman won the tiebreaker, 10-7, and the day at the Reis Tennis Center ended with the maddening match finishing in Albany;s favor.
“You’ve got to play to win and not be afraid to lose,” Glitz said about Duboc’s struggles. “Every player goes through that. I went through it myself.”
Earlier that day, doubles competition was a bright spot for the Red. Cornell took both doubles matches to begin the dual match.
First-seeded Duboc teamed with classmate Shayna Miller to win, 8-2, while Preneta and junior Dana Cruite cruised to an 8-0 victory at No. 2 doubles.
“We started off with good intensity in doubles,” Preneta said.
Glitz thinks that the doubles teams for the regular lineup this spring will pair Preneta with sophomore Tamara John, and sophomore Elizabeth Googe with freshman Susan Sullivan. Sullivan, who was the Flight C champion of the Cornell Winter Invitational in her college debut, could not play in the weekend’s matches due to a death in the family. These were the same combinations that the women used in last Thursday’s scrimmage against SUNY Binghamton, when the Red won every doubles match, and the results are even more encouraging since the Bearcats beat Army in doubles last week.