September 11, 2009

Young M. Tennis Squad Prepared for Fall Invite

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The fall tennis season begins today, with the Red taking on a mixed field of Ivy foes and local contenders. The men will play host to the Cornell Fall Invitational at Reis Tennis Center today through Sunday.
The men’s team is returning to the court after a breakout season with now second-year head coach David Geatz, who led the Red to a second place finish in the Ivy League. The team dropped only two matches last year against the Ancient Eight, both of which went down 4-3. The Red graduated five seniors, and has brought on five freshmen to fill the empty spots. This season may be harder for the Red, after losing a few players who, according to junior Jeremy Feldman, were the “heart and soul of the team.”
The Fall Invitational is an individual tournament, and as such the Red will not be displaying its new lineup this weekend. The players to watch this weekend include Feldman and Andy Gauthier, who were slotted into the No. 2 doubles spot last season. Men’s doubles was dominant against the competition last season, and while the Red graduated its No. 1 team, Feldman and Gauthier seem ready for the test of being at the top of the heap.
“Our goal is to make first All-Ivy and move on to the NCAA doubles draw if possible this season. I really think that it’s a realistic and achievable goal,” Feldman said. [img_assist|nid=37963|title=On your toes|desc=Junior Jeremy Feldman has his sights set high this season, especially with the team’s influx of young talent.|link=node|align=left|width=336|height=526]
Among the newest recruits, freshman Judd Berg seems to be the star of the bunch. Many Ivy League schools including Princeton, Penn, Dartmouth and Yale were fighting for the chance to have the South African on their side of the net. Geatz labeled Berg as his No. 1 recruit for 2009 during the offseason. However, Berg has been sick for the past couple weeks and has not been able to hit the court since official practices began on Monday.
Among the rest of the class, freshman John Palmeri will be a welcomed addition to the Red lineup. Palmeri was given a 4-star rating by the rating agencies before signing with the Red. Palmeri was also given a slot in the USTA Winter National Championships in February. It is still too early to tell whether Palmeri can break into the starting lineup this season, but will be one to watch.
It is expected that when the Red moves into its team tournaments in the coming months that its lineup will be mostly made up of upperclassmen. According to Feldman it would be unlikely that any of the top upperclassmen were to be replaced by a new recruit.
As with each prevoius recruiting class , this season sees a huge number of high quality tennis recruits being added to Ivy rosters. Though most teams are returning many upperclassmen, it will be the freshmen wildcards that may throw this season for a spin.
The Red have a long season ahead of them, but with this weekend’s start to the season it’s clear that Geatz and his team are ready for what’s ahead.