September 19, 2011

W. TENNIS | Pre-Season Work Key to Early Success at Cornell Invite

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A home court advantage made the impressive performance of the women’s tennis team that much more satisfying this weekend at the Cornell Invitational. Placing in all three brackets, the Red showed that it is a force to be reckoned with this upcoming season. Yet it was not necessarily the spirit of Homecoming that drove the women to success.

“We’ve been working really hard, so I think that’s kind of the reason why we did the best,” said sophomore Ryann Young, a finalist in the A flight bracket. “Everyone’s been trying 100 percent in practice and conditioning, and that really paid off.”

Junior Christine Ordway won the A flight titles in singles and doubles, facing teammates in both finals. Defeating Young in the singles final, 6-4, 6-1, Ordway demonstrated composure indicative of the two years of experience she has gained as a college athlete.

“It’s hard to play as intensely against someone who is on the same team as you, but you just have to forget that you’re on the same team and work hard for each point,” she said. “We’re still really good friends off the court and are excited that two of us made it to the finals. That shows a lot about our team and how deep we are.”

Ordway also won the A doubles title with teammate freshman Gabby Sullivan, topping Young and freshman Sara Perelman in a close match, 8-5. Sullivan took the A singles back draw against the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Monica Graff in one of the many matches of the invitational ending in a tiebreak, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5), 11-9.

As there are no seniors on the team this year, the responsibility of leading the women falls not only to the juniors, but to the sophomores as well.

“I’ve just tried to show them it’s important to cheer for everyone no matter if you’re winning or losing; you have to think of the team before you think of yourself,” Young said.

Her words definitely resonated with the freshmen, considering it was not only the team’s veterans who gave such impressive performances during the first match of the season, but many of the newcomers as well. The Red’s freshmen won the Top-3 spots in the B singles bracket, with Lauren Frazier beating teammate Nina Turudic, 6-2, 5-7, 10-7, in a tight final tiebreaker. Perelman came back from a set down to defeat Binghamton’s Marina Bykoxskaya, 0-6, 6-2, 10-6, for the third place spot, while junior Sarah O’Neil finished fourth in the championship portion of the bracket.

Freshman Courtney Malinchak did not disappoint in her first career match for Cornell, earning second place in the C flight singles after losing, 6-1, 6-3, to Buffalo’s Tarama Markovic. Junior Kristen Kohagen took third place with a win over Binghamton’s Jen Fridman, 7-5, 6-1. Another freshman, Rosemary Li, won the C singles consolation with a commanding straight-set victory score against Missy Edelblum of Binghamton. Li teamed up with O’Neil in the B doubles bracket, placing second after an 8-1 defeat versus Edelblum and partner Jill Santos. In the consolation game of the same bracket, Kohagen and Malinchak finished first with an 8-3 win over Carolina Zannota and Megan Guidry of NJIT.

The Red delivered a strong performance on Homecoming and is currently gearing up for its match next weekend at The Cissie Leary Invitational in Philadelphia, Pa.

“It was a great start for all the ladies on the team,” said head coach Mike Stevens, “but we still have a long way to go to be successful in the Ivy League season. They’ll continue to work hard and we’ve got another good test coming up this weekend in Pennsylvania and we’re looking forward to that.”

Original Author: Olivia Wittels