April 21, 2009

Tennis Splits Dual Finales

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The results of the final games, played this weekend, accurately reflected the seasons of both Red tennis teams. While the men cruised at home against Princeton on Friday and edged out Penn on Sunday, the women’s team got bageled by Princeton in New Jersey and came up short against Penn in its home season finale at the Reis Tennis Center. The men (14-5, 5-2 Ivy) finished second in the Ivy League standings while their female counterparts (6-14, 2-5 Ivy) ended their season with a five game losing streak.
Against the visiting Princeton Tigers, the men’s tennis team looked unbeatable. The Red easily beat the tigers, 5-2, and extended its winning streak to three games. The Red got off to its customary hot start by taking all three doubles matches. At first doubles, the titanic tandem of Kyle Doppelt and Josh Goldstein took a 5-1 lead over Alex Vuckovic and Peter Capkovic , and ultimately earned the victory after Capkovic retired due to an injury. Freshman Andy Gauthier and sophomore Jeremy Feldman then secured the doubles point for Cornell, winning in an 8-4 decision over Ilya Trubov and Alex Faust; Marc Asch and Mirza Kliz continued their strong play and defeated Yohei Shoji and George Capini, 8-5.[img_assist|nid=37062|title=Reach for it|desc=Sophomore Jeremy Feldman finished out his season with strong performances against both Princeton and Penn.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
By beating Ryan Kim, 6-4, 6-1, at second singles, Goldstein helped the Red pick up a pivotal win at second singles, one of Cornell’s four singles victories of the day. Also winning their singles matches were Feldman, Asch, and Gauthier. For his part, Gauthier outdueled Crutchfield 63-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-4) in a thriller. The win clinched the match for the Red.
Two days later, the Red traveled to Pennsylvania to take on the Quakers, its last opponent this season. Cornell held off Penn, 4-3, and with the win, finished second in the Ancient Eight behind Columbia. At doubles, Cornell continued its dominant play, sweeping all three matches, a feat that was accomplished seven times this spring. All three regular doubles tandems ended the season with impressive records, lead by Kyle Doppelt and Josh Goldstein, who posted a strong 14-5 record at the number one doubles spot. The young guns, Jeremy Feldman and Andy Gauthier, served notice that they should be a formidable tandem for the next two years, going 11-4 at second doubles, and Mirza Klis and Marc Asch, playing at third doubles, finished at 13-5. All three doubles teams were 5-2 in Ivy League play.
After losing three straight sets at the first three positions of singles play, the Red found itself in risk of losing the match. However, it was the back end of the men’s lineup that would once again come through in a big way, taking the three singles points at four, five and six to secure a victory. Last year’s Ivy Rookie of the Year, Jeremy Feldman, started the run by defeating Jason Linn, 7-6, 6-3, at the fourth singles. With the victory, Feldman improved his singles record to 14-4 on the season, going 3-0 at the third spot and 11-4 at fourth. At sixth, Gauthier finished out his freshman season in impressive fashion, defeating Justen Roth 6-0, 6-1.
In his senior campaign, Marc Asch put together what has to be considered one of the finest performances in recent Red history. By gutting out a tough three-set win over Jason Lin, Asch ended the season on a 13-match winning streak and went a perfect 7-0 in Ivy League play. Asch tallied a 16-1 record while playing at fourth, fifth, and sixth singles, with his lone loss coming more than two months ago against St. John’s, on Feb. 15. When coupled with his doubles record, Asch was 29-6 overall.
The weekend matches symbolized this season’s theme for the women (6-14, 2-5 Ivy), who have continually struggled. The Red lost to No. 46 Princeton, 7-0, on Friday. The Tigers won the doubles point and swept singles play. All seniors put forth commendable outings, albeit losses. Senior Elizabeth Googe got blanked by a very strong player in Melissa Saiontz, losing, 6-0, 6-0, in third singles. Fellow senior captain Shayna Miller was defeated, 6-3, 6-2, by Taylor Marable, and senior Catherine Duboc was floored by Blakely Ashley in sixth singles, 6-2, 6-1.
“A couple of games were close, but in Princeton, we faced a really good team,” Duboc said. “The victory was well deserved and was won by a very good team.”
Facing the Quakers at home, the Red fared much better, but still lost, 4-3, in its final match of the season on Sunday afternoon. In doubles play, junior Natalia Sanchez and Googe teamed up to defeat Sadaka and Wolf, 8-6 at the No. 1 position. At No. 2, Miller and Freshman Stephanie Kent picked up a 9-7 win over Anisimova and Ely. Sophomores Sinziana Chis and Ruxandra Dumitrescu completed the sweep with an 8-1 victory over Wong and Dabir at No. 3 doubles.
In singles, Chis defeated Wong at the No. 5 position, 7-5, 1-6, 6-3. At No. 6 singles, Dumitrescu picked up a 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 victory over Dabir. Miller finished the last match of her collegiate career with a loss to Wolf, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (0).
“We won all the doubles matches and in the single matches we were really close,” Chis said. “We just could not pull out a close match, a problem we had all season.”
Indeed, the Red lost most of its close decisions in the latter part of the season. “Almost any team can win on any given day, especially in the Ivy league,” Chis continued. “We certainly learned that this year.”
While the Red certainly has had its fair share of struggles, the team knows not to judge the season based purely on the win-loss tally. Cornell’s roster was injury-depleted for much of the season.
“We had a really successful season and came close in a lot of the matches we lost,” Googe said. “Everyone on the team had the opportunity to play at some point during the course of the season and the improvement from March is clearly visible.”
Googe is one of three seniors whose input and efforts the team will miss dearly next season. Miller and Duboc also will be leaving the team after four years.
“It has been a great experience. I was lucky to have two other people in my class who kept me motivated through key moments in my career,” Googe said.
Duboc uttered similar sentiments. “It has been a great couple of years. Shayna and Liz certainly help form the experience into a notable one. We stared out with seven players in our class and ended up with only three, but through it all, we had a blast.”