February 23, 2010

Tennis Teams Dominate at Home

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The men’s tennis team returns to action this weekend with a pair of matches after sweeping its opponents last weekend at the Reis Tennis Center. The Red (5-2, 0-0 Ivy) defeated Buffalo, 4-3, and Fairleigh Dickinson, 5-2, at home to continue its march towards what could be its first Ivy League title in Cornell history. The men’s squad will host GW on Friday before traveling to University Park, Pa. to take on Penn State on Saturday. The women meanwhile earned a 5-2 victory over Rutgers on Sunday afternoon.

The men earned their narrow victory over Buffalo by splitting the six singles matches, and taking two of the three doubles matches. The women earned the doubles point to grab the early lead, then won the No.1 and No. 2 singles in straight sets. With the win, the women improved to a 3-4 record in dual matches.

On Saturday, junior Jon Jaklitsch fell victim to Buffalo’s Wojciech Starakiewicz in the No. 1 singles competition, 6-4, 6-4, however junior Andy Gauthier was able to take a straight set victory in straight sets.

“We played Buffalo at 9 a.m. bright and early, and they were the most high energy team we’ve played,” Gauthier said.

In the doubles competition Gauthier and partner junior Jeremy Feldman were defeated in No. 1 singles by the duo of Starakiewicz and Kolomyts, 8-5. Klis and Jaklitsch earned an 8-5 victory over Buffalo’s Mazzetto/Tibil pairing, while the No. 3 team of Bernstein and Fife completed the overall victory for the Red with a win over Mitch Zenaty and Kalinin, 8-6.

“All three doubles matches they caught a break in the first game, and we were pretty tired but still won the doubles and rolled through the singles,” Gauthier said.

The story wasn’t all that different a few hours later when the men’s squad took on Fairleigh Dickinson, also at Reis, taking four of six matches in the singles competition and earning wins in two of the three doubles games. Jaklitsch, Gauthier and Fife headlined the Red’s victories in the singles bracket, with each player earning a straight set win over Dickinson’s top three competitors.

“The Cornell teams have been noted for being gritty and playing good doubles, and that was what happened with Buffalo and Dickinson,” said head coach David Geatz.

Geatz continued to mix up the lineup, sending freshman Charles Quay onto the court with Gauthier for No. 3 doubles. Gauthier and Quay earned the win while Fife and Bernstein faltered in their match.

“We had a lot of injuries, and I’ve got great confidence in those guys,” Geatz said of his decision to alter the team’s rotation.

After the two wins over the weekend, the men’s team began preparing for its matches against GW (1-2, 1-0 A10) and Penn State (5-1, 0-0 Big 10), for a weekend that will see the Red play two matches in two different states within 48 hours. The men’s team will host GW at 2 p.m. and then head to Penn State immediately following the matches’ completion.

“Any time you play a double header it’s very difficult,” Gauthier said. This is especially true about the Nittany Lions, however, a formidable opponent under normal circumstances.

However, Gauthier noted that the fast playing surface at Penn State would actually be quite beneficial to his style of play.

“The Penn State courts are pretty fast so that should be really good for my style of play,” Gauthier said.

In the singles bracket for the women, the top two Red teammates earned wins, with freshmen Christine Ordway and Kristin Lim earning early team points. Freshman Sarah O’Neil and senior Natalia Sanchez did not fare as well, losing to Rutgers before the No. 5 and No. 6 Cornellians, junior Ruxandra Dumistrescu and senior Susan Sullivan, respectively, brought the match home with twin wins.

In doubles competition, the Red’s first pairing of Sanchez and Sullivan was unsuccessful, 8-5, but the next two pairings, made up of Ordway and O’Neil and Lim with Dumitrescu both earned wins for the Red.

The women will be able to rest this week, with their next match not scheduled until March 6, a home competition against Marquette.

Original Author: Evan Rich