The Cornell men’s and women’s tennis teams will be competing in their respective Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Indoor Tennis Championships this weekend, Feb. 18-20. The women will be traveling to Princeton, N.J., and the men will be competing in Cambridge, Mass.
One month into the tennis season, the women’s team has earned three wins, giving it a 3-0 record, including shutouts against St. Bonaventure and St. John’s. Most recently, the Red achieved a win, 6-1, over Binghamton last Saturday at the Reis Tennis Center. The men’s team has earned a winning record, 6-3, starting off strong with three subsequent shutouts against Fordham, Monmouth and NJIT in late January; however, their most recent match resulted in a 5-2 loss to Penn State at the Indoor Tennis Center in State College, Pa.
The men’s team faces a particularly tough challenge this weekend, as it has been seeded first in the tournament; however, head coach Tony Bresky is not fazed by this burden.
“Some people view it as extra pressure, but we like that because … our goal and expectation is to win the tournament. [The team] has worked really hard, has had a strong schedule and I know they’re going to be prepared,” Bresky said.
“Every match is tough … We are not overlooking anyone. We’re playing the winner of the Columbia and Boston College match first. We lost to Columbia in a match last year and Boston College is a tough team with a ton of depth,” Bresky acknowledged when discussing the competition this weekend.
Senior tri-captain Andy Gauthier also has high hopes for this tournament, and thinks that his team has a good shot at success.
“We’ve never actually won this tournament in the history of Cornell, so this is our best chance, … but it’s a pretty even conference and we need to be ready for anybody and everybody,” Gauthier said.
The men’s team will play the winner of the Columbia vs. Boston College match on Saturday, Feb. 19. If it wins that match, it will play the winner of Brown and Harvard on Sunday.
The women’s team will be entering into this tournament with a different perspective. Its first match will be against third seeded Harvard on Friday, Feb. 18.
Senior co-captain Ruxandra Dumitrescu asserts that despite the Red’s No. 6 seed, the team is excited for this weekend’s championship and is confident in its abilities.
“We got seeded sixth, which doesn’t place us in the most favorable draw, but at the same time, we lost to Harvard last year very closely, so the team is expecting to have a great game with the hope and goal of beating them,” Dumitrescu said.
Dumitrescu also suggested that the Red’s depth as a team will be a great asset to it this weekend, when it has to face some difficult teams.
“Our strength is that we as a team have a lot of depth. I don’t think we have any one spot where we’re weak. We are all solid players and all have different styles of play, which is advantageous to us because we can learn from each other,” Dumitrescu added.
Whatever the outcome of this weekend’s championship, Dumitrescu says that her team will learn a lot from this experience.
“This is a new tournament for us; the first time we played was last year, and we didn’t know what to expect. We just had a great win against Binghamton, and this is our chance to have a great season because we get to see all the other Ivies before we play them [in the regular season]. I think we want to give [it] our all so that we can make the most of the weekend and see where our competition is, where we are strong and where we need to improve. It will be a good lesson to help us prepare for the coming months,” Dumitrescu said.
If the Red wins the match against Harvard, it will continue on in the tournament to play the winner of the Columbia vs. Yale match on Saturday, Feb. 19.
Following this weekend’s contest the men will return to the Reis Tennis Center to take on Chestnut Hill, Kutztown and Roberts Wesleyan on Feb. 26. The women’s next match will be against Fairleigh Dickinson on March 5, also at home in Ithaca.
Original Author: Alane Trafford