November 5, 2008

Home, Sweet Home: M. Tennis Excels at Cornell Fall Invitational

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The men’s tennis team did not complete the sweep of every event at the Cornell Fall Indoor Invitational last weekend, but it came close. In Cornell’s last tournament of the fall season, the Red had players in the finals of every non-consolation bracket and came out on top in two of the four events.
In singles action, senior Jeremy Feldman advanced to the finals of Flight A and sophomore Evan Bernstein reached the Flight B finals. Cornell settled for a split of the singles titles as Feldman came up just short against Moshe Levy of Binghamton (7-6 (3), 6-3). Bernstein, however, was able to come back from losing a first set tiebreaker to claim the Flight B singles title over Landon Greene of Marist (6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-4).
“The kid who won the A Flight was a really good player from Binghamton,” said senior co-captain Kyle Doppelt. “He ruined our party a little bit, but otherwise I think we did really well.
The Flight A doubles draw was filled with familiar names and familiar faces. After seeing three teams through to the semi-finals, two Cornell teams advanced to the final, which guaranteed a title for the Red. Senior Jeremy Feldman and sophomore Andy Gauthier met Doppelt and senior Joshua Goldstein in an in-house affair. The match up was primed for emotion, as the two sets of partners often spar during practice.
“We’ve had some really intense practice matches with that team,” said co-captain Doppelt. “But during this final we decided to be a little more cordial.”
Feldman and Gauthier found their strokes in the match and defeated Doppelt and Golstein (8-4) to deny their teammates the title.[img_assist|nid=33289|title=Serving up a win|desc=Sophomore Andy Gauthier teamed with classmate Jeremy Feldman to capture the Flight A doubles title at the Cornell Fall Indoor Invitational last weekend.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Bernstein was also prominently displayed in the Flight B doubles draw as he advanced to the finals with freshman partner Conner Sherwood. Bernstein’s hopes of going undefeated for the weekend were dashed, however, when the duo lost to Pisecky and Greene of Marist in the tightly contested final (9-8 (5)). Despite this setback, Bernstein’s play this weekend did not go unnoticed.
“Evan Bernstein played really well this weekend and he showed he’s gonna be a force for our team this year,” said junior Ashish Bhandari.
Two of the persistent themes of this fall season for Cornell were establishing depth and improving towards the spring and these themes were prevalent last weekend. The Red’s depth was evident as we had three of the four semi-finalists in Flight A doubles and two of the four semi-finalists in Flight B singles and doubles.
“The strength of our team lies in the amount of depth we have,” said head coach David Geatz.
“We established ourselves as the deepest team in the league,” added Doppelt. “And we definitely have an upward trajectory for the spring season.”
The tournament held a lot of positives for the Red with players stepping up and performing well, but Geatz is still searching for one key ingredient come spring.
“We need someone who can come in and win No. 1 singles 60 percent of the time and we can be a threat this year,” said Geatz. “And I think we definitely have a couple guys who have the talent to do that.”
The team’s hard work this fall produced rapid improvement in many of the Red players and culminated in a strong showing at home.
“I can’t believe that there is another team in the Ivy League that hits more tennis balls or plays more than we do,” said Geatz. “If we can sustain that I think we can catch up to teams that might be a bit ahead of us right now.”
Overall, the team seems happy to conclude the fall season and is looking forward to starting Ivy League play in the spring.
“[The fall season] has been a really good start to the year and everyone is really excited for the spring,” said Bhandari. I think we are on the verge of having a really good year.”