March 31, 2008

Women Beat Lions; Men Lose Tight Match

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In a contest that had the packed Ries Tennis Center holding its breath with every point, Cornell lost a heartbreaker to Columbia on Saturday, 4-3. It was the first match of Ivy play for both the Red and the defending league champion Lions. On the road, the women’s tennis won its first Ivy League match of the season against Columbia, 6-1.
The women continued its strong season as they moved to 8-2 on the year (1-0 Ivy). And they did it in dominating fashion. Cornell took the doubles point on the strenghth of wins at the first two spots. The singles matches were even less of a competition as the Red took five-of-six matches.
After junior Tamara John put the squad up two with her win at the No. 3 spot, Columbia tried to stay in the match with a win at No. 4. However, Cornell’s remaining four competitors put the match away by sweeping the remaining matches, polishing off the 6-1 win.[img_assist|nid=29293|title=Tennis elbow|desc=Junior Josh Goldstein battles his Columbia opponent Mark Clemente last Saturday. Goldstein lost, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (9), 6-1, one of four singles matches the Red lost.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
The men’s team (4-9, 0-1) didn’t have the same success, but battled the Lions down to the wire. Sophomore Jon Fife and freshman Jeremy Feldman won their singles matches at Nos. 4 and 6, respectively. The doubles tandems won 2 of 3 to take another point.
While the end result was a loss, the team’s fifth straight, it is impossible to ignore the moral lift the team will receive from this match. Junior Josh Goldstein, after winning his first set in No. 2 singles 7-6, lost the second set in a tiebreak, 7-6 (9), before falling in the third. The intensity that permeated the courts at Ries is a positive sign of things to come for the Red, who play their next three matches at home. The loss, however, puts the team at 0-1 in conference play going into a busy weekend, with upcoming matches against fellow Ivies Dartmouth and Harvard.
“We as a team felt that match was in our grasp,” Feldman said. “We were all pretty depressed afterwards, since there was a good amount of confidence going in. To lose 4-3, when we played so well … affects everyone.”
Another positive from Saturday’s match was the productivity of the doubles teams. This was the first time the doubles team had managed to win a best-of-three series in four consecutive matches, the last coming on March 16 against No. 53 Stetson.
Goldstein and senior Weston Nichols combined to win their match 8-5, while senior Rory Heggie and freshman Jonathan Jaklitsch won their contest by the same score.
“We came with a different lineup for the first time in doubles…not necessarily best or worst, just different,” said freshman Mirza Klis. “All three teams were really fired up, ready to go, and that was reflected in the end result.”
For now, though, the Red is looking forward. There are many more games to play. “Everyone gets a little more excited for Ivy League play,” Feldman said. “It’s what we’ve been training for all year. The intensity level picks up. This weekend we have Dartmouth and Harvard…they’re both good, competitive teams, and we have a history with each. Every game matters in conference play, and everyone is looking forward to each game.”