Squeezing in a weeknight match in between hectic weekends of competition, the men’s tennis team will take on Colgate tonight at 5 p.m. at Reis Tennis Center.
The Red is coming off a pair of victories over Stony Brook, 6-1, and Buffalo, 4-3. After a weekend of focused play and challenging matches, the men now have a solid 5-1 record, with their only loss coming in the first match of the spring season against Penn State.
[img_assist|nid=21908|title=Jumpin Jack Flash|desc=Sophomore Kyle Doppelt serves in the No. 3 doubles match against Army on Feb. 24. The Red will take on in-state rival Colgate tonight at home.|link=none|align=left|width=61|height=100]
In Sunday’s match against Buffalo, the Bulls were two points away from winning the match and beating an Ivy League team for the first time in their history.
“This weekend was interesting, for sure,” said sophomore Kyle Doppelt. “We kind of averted disaster against Buffalo; a loss to them would have been a big blow to our season.”
Doppelt was the last player on the court when Buffalo had tied the match at 3-3, as the outcome of the match depended on whoever won at the No. 3 singles spot.
“Buffalo had an unbelievable day and was a point away in that last match,” Doppelt said. “Their assistant coach took out a video camera on match point to capture them cheering. They had two match points and ended up losing, and all the video shows now is this guy throwing his racquet and yelling ‘I hate tennis.’ We kind of feel like there’s a weight lifted off our backs since we won, and now we have a renewed determination to not underestimate anybody.”
Against Stony Brook later that afternoon, the Red swept doubles and won all but one singles match, including straight-set wins by junior Rory Heggie, freshman Jonathan Fife, sophomore Josh Goldstein and junior Weston Nichols. Sophomore Peter Kung pulled out a tight three-set match after winning just one game in the second set of his match.
“We just had a big match on Sunday, and a lot of people are tired,” Kung said. “Tonight will be a little test of energy for us. We’ll have some of the players who didn’t play in Sunday’s matches be able to show their stuff [tonight].”
Tonight the Raiders will try to improve on a lackluster weekend of play, featuring losses to Binghamton, 6-1, and Army, 5-2.
“It shouldn’t be a very competitive match, to be honest,” Kung said. “There might be some new players or new freshmen that Colgate might have that would be a surprise for us, but we have a pretty good shot at dominating in the match.”
“We’re looking to put away a weaker team, which we had trouble doing on Sunday,” Doppelt said. “We’re also kind of fine-tuning so we’re prepared for spring break and our tougher matches.”
Cornell has already beaten Binghamton, Army, FDU, Buffalo and Stony Brook this season. In contrast, Colgate has already fallen to all of these schools except FDU, whom they have not played.
“It’s kind of a tradition to play all the teams from upstate New York,” Doppelt said. “Colgate looks at this as a big opportunity for them to take us out, while we look at it as an opportunity for us to get some more matches under our belt and to get some confidence.”
Throughout the course of its five-match winning streak, the Red has used its matches against smaller in-state rivals as opportunities to sharpen its performance in matchplay. In short, the men are fine-tuning their games.
“I think we’re pretty good all-around,” Kung said. “We need to work on doubles, since we lost the doubles point against Buffalo on Sunday. Teamwork, being consistent, and helping each other out are things we could work on. In singles overall we’ve done pretty well, but we need to be able to finish the easy matches faster so there’s no slacking off during the match.”