February 2, 2010

Tennis Hosts Winter Invite

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On a weekend that featured the conclusion of the Australian Open, there was also plenty of tennis to be seen at the Reis Tennis Center in Ithaca, N.Y. The women’s team competed in the annual Cornell Winter Invitational, a precursor to the beginning of the new season.

This young Red team continued the strong play it exhibited in the fall with semifinal appearances in A Singles by freshmen Christine Ordway and Kristin Lim. Ordway defeated Tamara Markovic of Buffalo, 6-3, 6-1, and Binghamton’s Yagmur Gone, 6-0, 6-2, before falling in her semifinal match to Diana Popescu in a tough three-set match, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. Lim also won her first two matches, the first in straight sets over Carlin Calcaterra of Bucknell, and the other a three-set victory against Binghamton’s Jillian Santos. Like Ordway, Lim did not make it past her semifinal match, falling in three sets, 6-4, 5-7, 7-5.

“The girls are getting better … but I think we could do better,” Geatz said.

Freshman Sarah O’Neil and senior Natalia Sanchez also competed in the A Singles bracket; however, both were ousted in their first round matches. Sanchez was able to take part in the consolation bracket, though, and wound up reaching the semifinals before falling to Markovic.

While this year’s team is certainly very young — half of the players are freshmen — there is by no means a lack of ability on the squad.

“We’ve got some girls on our team that have a lot of talent and a great work ethic,” Geatz said.

In the B Singles competition, senior Susan Sullivan advanced to the semifinals with victories over Bucknell’s Jennie Ciotta and Buffalo’s Anna Subenkova. Sullivan’s first round match against Bucknell was especially impressive, as she shut out her opponent, 6-0, 6-0. Despite the strong effort, Sullivan was eventually defeated in her semifinal match, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3.

Juniors Leah Seyburn and Ruxandra Dumitrescu both exited after their first round appearances; Seyburn in straight sets and Dumitrescu in three hard fought sets. In the A Doubles bracket the combination of Ordway and O’Neil did not disappoint; the two freshmen reached the semifinals before suffering a defeat at the hands of the duo from Binghamton, 8-4. Prior to their loss in the semis, Ordway and O’Neil defeated the Popescu/Toia pairing from Buffalo by a final of 9-8.

The Red also had two doubles teams in the B Doubles competition. Seyburn and Lim paired up to take down Bucknell, 8-4, while freshmen Geraldine Leong and Kirsten Kohagen also won their first round match, 8-5, over Binghamton. Both Cornell teams lost their subsequent semifinal matches, something that seemed to be a trend throughout the weekend.

Despite many strong individual performances, the Red was ultimately unable to make the finals in any bracket of competition. The Cornell Invite was the final individual event of the season, signaling the shift into the team-oriented portion of the tennis schedule. Next week, the team will play in its first official tournament of the new season as it heads up to Buffalo to begin what should be a long and arduous journey towards an Ivy League title.

“I thought Buffalo was really good [this weekend], and I think that will be a really tough match,” Geatz said.

Geatz recognized that putting such a young team on the court may have some downside, but did not waiver in his confidence that this team would be able to play consistent tennis week in and week out.

“By the end of the year I bet we’ll be a lot better than we were at the beginning,” Geatz said.

Original Author: Evan Rich