March 28, 2008

M. Tennis Team Aims To Regain Hot Start

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As the men’s tennis team’s regular season makes its final push, it seems only right that we take a look back on the trials and tribulations that have shaped this season thus far.
The men’s tennis team, currently standing at 5-7 overall, is about to embark on a four game homestand with eight contests left in the season. The team is currently attempting to rebound from a disappointing trip to Florida, but the trip down south that ended with four losses has left the team viciously hungry for any type of redemption.
The start of the season attested to the hard work put into early months. The team ran off to a 2-0 start with easy wins over Niagara and Buffalo before losing to No. 39 Penn State. Despite strong play from junior Joshua Goldstein, sophomore Jonathan Fife, and freshman Jonathan Jaklitsch, the team has struggled to find consistency in their matches, never winning or losing more than two in a row until the Florida trip.
Despite the unpredictable results, the Red remain one of the top contenders for the Ivy League title. League play picks up on March 29th, when the Red host defending champion Columbia in a match that sophomore Jonathan Fife says is “huge for us for many reasons. It’s the first of the Ivy league season, which is what we look back on judge ourselves on. We’ve let some matches slip away so far this season, and winning against the defending champs would be a great stage where we could re-establish ourselves in the league.”
While Cornell may not have the best non-conference schedule, they have played five ranked teams, second most in the Ivies. This experience against the toughest competition will surely contribute towards success in the coming weeks as games become more frequent and opponents more desperate.
Cornell also boasts one of the league’s younger lineups. Although this year’s team only boasts three seniors (Rory Heggle, Weston Nichols, and Tongle Yu), they quickly rose to the occasion with the junior class and have stepped up to lead a team that includes eight underclassmen. Freshmen Jeremy Feldman and Mirza Klis are two of the rising stars on this Cornell team that has a core of five freshmen, most of whom play prominent roles on the squad.
As for the future, the team is gearing up for a stretch that may very well define their season. Excited at the prospect of winning the majority of their conference matches at home and in succession, the Red are poised for greatness, all the while helping the younger players mentally prepare for the different atmosphere of a league game. Says Feldman, “the objective every year is to win the Ivy League. For a good part of the team, it’ll be our first experience in a situation like this. While every game counts, we’ve got to be able to adjust to a situation where the outcome of a match directly affects those standings.”
On Saturday, March 29th, they get their chance in a big way. The visiting Columbia Lions carry the Ivy League title into Ithaca. A win there would send a menacing statement to the rest of the league that this team is not to be reckoned with.