February 26, 2007

Tennis Teams Sweep Weekend Matches

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Cornell tennis was unstoppable this weekend, as the men won every singles and doubles match to beat Army, 7-0, and Fairleigh Dickinson, 7-0, on Saturday at the Reis Tennis Center. On the road, the women posted 5-2 wins over both Temple on Saturday and Army yesterday. In doing so, both Red squads improved their records to 3-1.

According to junior Weston Nichols, the men felt good about their relatively easy matches, but they know to put the victories in perspective, since the Ivy season is when they will play the most important matches.

“Both Army and FDU were fairly weak,” Nichols said. “It’s been a bad year for Army, and we have maybe 10 guys on our team who could probably beat almost any one of their guys. It’s good to be playing that well, but these wins are what’s going to make our season.”

In the first match of the afternoon, senior tri-captain Nick Brunner put away his match at No. 1 singles against Army’s John Houghton in straight sets, 6-4, 6-1. His classmate and fellow tri-captain Josh Raff narrowly lost his second-set tie-break against Phil Muhawi at No. 2, but came back to earn the win, 6-1, 6-7 (5), 10-6. At No. 3 singles, senior Dan Brous, the Red’s third tri-captain, handed a loss to Eddie Kaug, 6-3, 7-5.

The fourth through sixth singles players — sophomore Kyle Doppelt, freshman Jonathan Fife and sophomore Peter Kung — followed the seniors’ lead in outplaying their Army counterparts. Doppelt took out Johnny Lucero, 6-0, 6-4, while Fife beat Lucivero, 6-2, 6-1. Kung dropped only one game per set as he defeated Charles Mullenger, 6-1, 6-1.

In doubles, each of the Red duos won their pro-sets by a convincing score of 8-3. The No. 41-ranked tandem of Brunner and Raff defeated Kaug and Muhawi, while Brous teamed with junior Rory Heggie to out-play Houghton and Mullenger. At third doubles, Doppelt and sophomore Josh Goldstein beat Lucero and Lucivero.

“The team has been working a lot on doubles,” Nichols said. “Brunner and Raff had a great last year and should have gone to NCAAs. We’re pretty focused on doubles right now; those matches aren’t going to get you the most points, but the doubles point is really important when lots of matches are won or lost 4-3.”

Later in the afternoon against Farleigh Dickinson, the Red demonstrated its depth by almost entirely changing its singles lineup and still winning every match it played.
At No. 1 singles against FDU, Heggie easily defeated Phil Stephens, 6-4, 6-2, while Goldstein took out Pritt Gross by a score of 6-1, 6-4 at the No. 2 spot. Winning in straight sets with identical scores of 6-3, 6-1, Fife and Kung defeated Alex Nace and Justin Seow at No. 3 and No. 4 singles, respectively. Nichols beat FDU’s Kyle Eddins 7-5, 6-3 while sophomore Mark Asch completed his straight-set victory over Esteban Blanco, 6-2, 6-2.

The Red again prevailed in doubles, with Doppelt and Goldstein taking the match against Stephens and Nace, 8-6, in the No. 1 spot. Heggie and Kung lost just one game in their 8-1 victory over Seow and Blanco at third doubles, while the second doubles pair of Nichols and sophomore Bryant Yung defeated Gross and Eddins, 8-2.

“Yung and I both played pretty well in doubles, considering it was the first time we’ve played together in a while,” Nichols said. “Bryant has the biggest forehand on the team, so we took advantage of it. He played the deuce side, and when he got a serve into the body, he’d step to the side and rip the ball while I’d cross and poach on the next shot.”
The women swept their series of matches against Army and Temple in a comparable show of dominance at West Point, N.Y, taking four singles matches and the doubles point against Temple.

Sophomore Elizabeth Googe and Catherine Duboc dropped their closely contested three-set singles matches, the Red’s only singles losses of the day. At No. 1 singles, Googe fell to Temple’s Yuri Kurashima 6-2, 6-7 (5), 1-0 (7), while Duboc lost to Felicia Frazier, 6-3, 6-7 (5), 1-0 (5).

In her No. 2 singles match senior co-captain Kasia Preneta handily defeated Dina Senkina, 6-1, 6-4. Sophomore Tamara John won her match against Radka Ferancova in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, while senior co-captain Nisha Suda beat Christine Clermont in a third set tiebreak, 6-2, 4-6, 1-0 (10).

It was freshman Susan Sullivan, however, who had the most convincing win of the match, double-bageling Sharanya Pattabi, 6-0, 6-0.

“I definitely don’t usually beat people with such a lopsided score,” Sullivan said. “These were my first college dual matches, so I had a lot of adrenaline going in. I was pumped up — it’s exciting when the whole team is behind you and when you win, they win.”

In doubles, Sullivan and Googe scraped out of their tight match against Kursahima and Clermont with a 9-8 (6) win at the No. 1 spot. John and Preneta sealed an 8-3 victory over Pattabi and Rukhavyshnykova at third doubles, while Duboc and sophomore Shayna Miller dropped their match to Fernacova and Senkina, 8-3, at second doubles.

The women played the same lineup against Army the next day, again taking the match by a score of 5-2. Googe redeemed her loss to Kurashima by defeating Army’s Niki Flach in straight sets, 6-4, 6-1. Preneta, John, and Suda each continued their strong play by beating their Army counterparts at No. 2, 3, and 4 singles.

Sullivan again defeated her opponent with an impressive score of 6-0, 6-0, while Duboc lost her match to Paige Ford by the same score, failing to win a game.

Army captured the doubles point, however, as Googe and Sullivan at No. 1 doubles were the only team to win their match, 8-4.

“The match against Army was really tight, but we managed to pull it out,” Sullivan said. “We’re getting a lot of confidence from these matches, and this kind of win will help us later on when we’re down.”