April 13, 2007

W. Tennis Defends Perfect Ivy Record; Men Seek First Ivy Win

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The men’s and No. 69 women’s tennis teams are as motivated as ever to win their matches against Brown and Yale this weekend, as the men seek their first Ivy win of the season and the women look to stay perfect in Ancient Eight play.
The men will take on the Bears today at Reis Tennis Center, before hosting the Bulldogs tomorrow. This afternoon, the women will begin play in Providence, R.I., followed by a 12:30 p.m. match tomorrow in New Haven, Conn.
After being swept by Harvard and losing a heartbreaker to Dartmouth, 4-3, last weekend, the men (12-6, 0-3 Ivy) are hungry for their first Ivy win.[img_assist|nid=22867|title=Wham!|desc=Sophomore Josh Goldstein and the men’s tennis team will try to avenge losses to Brown and Yale from the fall this weekend.|link=node|align=right|width=42|height=100]
“We are down, but by no means out,” said senior tri-captain Josh Raff. “This is a match we always look forward to. The Brown team is a very intense and at times obnoxious bunch, so to beat them on our home turf will be very satisfying, and it adds extra motivation as well. We’re all very determined to have a successful weekend. For now, we have all of our focus on Brown, but Yale is on our minds as well.”
No. 69 Brown (15-9, 0-2) is coming off 5-2 losses to both Princeton and Penn last weekend. At the ECAC championship last fall, the Bears beat the Red, 5-2; in the same tournament, Yale outlasted the Red, 4-3.
“There is no problem with motivation since they both beat us in the fall,” said men’s head coach Barry Schoonmaker. “We were three points from beating Brown, and the Yale match was over five hours long. We didn’t get to put our best doubles on the court against Yale due to injury.”
The Yale men (6-9, 0-2) also fell to both Princeton and Penn last weekend, by a score of 4-3 each time.
Schoonmaker thinks his team has a good shot at beating both Brown and Yale, but he knows that his team is not at its best without senior tri-captain Dan Brous, who is battling a back injury.
“Losing Dan Brous has hurt us in a big way,” Schoonmaker said. “He was playing his best tennis since he’s been at Cornell, winning all four of his matches in northern California, and he’s the heart of the team. It’s day-to-day if he’ll be able to get on the court. We’re hoping he’s healed enough to give it a shot. You never want to see a senior captain watching from the sidelines due to injury.”
With or without Brous, Raff emphasized that the men plan on fighting tooth and nail against Brown and Yale.
“This is a really important weekend for us,” Raff said. “We’re going to fight and scrap and do whatever is necessary, without compromising our own reputations and the rules of the game, to win these matches. We’re expecting a big crowd for the Brown match, and we don’t intend to disappoint our fans.”
The women (10-2, 3-0), who have been steadily rising in the national rankings and are currently ranked 69th, are confident they can keep their winning streak alive.
“I think Brown and Yale are going to be tough competition, but if our team can stay as tough as we’ve been so far, we’ll be able to come out on top,” said sophomore Shayna Miller. “Everyone has been playing really well in practice and in our matches. We carry our confidence into each match, and it gives us an edge over the other teams.”
The Brown women (5-11, 0-3) failed to win a single point in their matches against Princeton and Penn last weekend.
“Brown has a lot of great competitors and will definitely come out ready to play,” said sophomore Liz Googe. “We beat them more Liz Googe. “We beat them last year, so revenge is always a factor. They haven’t really lost too many players this year, so it will be a very similar team that we’ll play.”
Last weekend the Yale women also fell to No. 51 Penn, 5-2, but they managed to overpower Princeton by a score of 5-2, giving them an overall record of 7-8 (1-1 Ivy).
“Yale has historically had a great program, and they have a lot of talented players and a lot of depth,” Googe said. “They beat Princeton last weekend, so obviously they are playing pretty well right now. They’ve lost several good players but gained a few freshmen who should be in the lineup this weekend.”
While this weekend marks the women’s first Ivy matches on the road, Miller and Googe do not consider it a factor in their play.
“We have to forget about where we’re playing and just focus on the ball,” Miller said. “It really helps when we talk to each other between the courts. It keeps us calm and focused.”
“It will be key for us to come out well in doubles and set the tone for the match,” Googe said. “We have a very high-energy presence on the court, and it’s important that we play at our own pace, especially playing on the road.
“While we’ve had a lot of success so far this season, nobody is satisfied with just our past results. We want to keep proving how much our program has improved and continue establishing a winning tradition for Cornell women’s tennis.”