February 3, 2010

Tennis Kicks Off Season with Eye on Ivy League Title

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In what will undoubtedly be a very busy weekend at the Reis Tennis Center, the men’s tennis team will take the courts for the first time in over three months. The Red kicks off the new season with matches against Binghamton and Georgetown on Saturday, capped off by a bout with Marist on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the women’s team will spend its Saturday afternoon in Buffalo, N.Y., against the same team it faced last week at the Cornell Winter Invitational. As the tennis season officially begins, these games should be a strong indicator of what is to come in the weeks ahead.

Junior Jon Jaklitsch believes that an Ivy League title is well within reach for this year’s talented men’s team.

“The goal is to win the Ivy League … last year we came in second and we were a few wins away from winning. To come that close and lose, it only makes us work that much harder,” Jaklitsch said.

One factor that may help the Red claim an Ivy League title –– which has eluded it since the program’s inception –– is playing a stronger schedule than in years past.

“We tried to get a stronger schedule this year to get a higher national ranking,” Jaklitsch said. That schedule will include the likes of No. 20 Boise State and No. 51 Utah.

As for this weekend’s competition, Jaklitsch was very complimentary of his opponents, warning that they should not be taken lightly.

“When I was a freshman, Binghamton was not a very good team and we lost to them. Now they’re one of the toughest teams we’ll play all year,” Jaklitsch said.

In order to avoid history repeating itself, the Red will have to play like a team capable of winning an Ivy title.

The task at hand will not be any easier for the women’s team, coming off a weekend that did not see a single Red player move past the semifinal round in any bracket of competition.

“Our play last week was a little rusty; we’re trying to get back into a groove now,” said freshman Kristin Lim.

The Red looks to start the new season fresh by competing strongly against very familiar competition. When asked about specific ways she could improve her play, Lim was very clear.

“I need to have better shot selection, and get back into game shape … [while] learning to finish and close,” Lim said.

In only the first event of the spring season, both squads have many questions to answer. While it might not be clear if either of these teams will be standing with league titles at the end of the season, this weekend’s matches will certainly be a great opportunity for both groups to take a step towards that elusive Ivy championship.

Original Author: Evan Rich