February 22, 2012

Tennis| Men Head to Blue-Gray Invitational

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Following strong performances in the ECAC tournament last week, the men’s and women’s tennis teams are primed to compete in matches this weekend that will provide the Red with opportunities for further improvement. While the men will travel to Montgomery, Ala. to compete in the Blue-Gray Invitational, the women will play the Binghamton Bearcats at the Reis Tennis Center.

This weekend will be the first time in Cornell history that the men’s team is participating in the Blue-Gray Invitational, which will also feature Auburn, Clemson, Mississippi State, Texas Tech, Alabama, Boise and Tennessee.

“It’s a very prestigious tournament,” said men’s head coach Silviu Tanasoiu. “It’s an honor to participate in it. This is a fantastic opportunity to see where we are compared to some of the best teams in the country.”

Tanasoiu said that the men’s team was extended an invitation to participate in the Blue-Gray tournament this year, as well as next year, because of the positive outcomes that the team achieved last year. According to Tanasoiu, although the rest of the season does not depend on the outcome of this tournament, it will provide great opportunity for improvement.

“We have the youngest team in the country,” he said. “My goal is to transition the guys into official matches.”

The women’s team is favored to win the match against Binghamton, given that the Bearcats were defeated, 7-0, last Sunday by Temple Owls ━ a team which the Red defeated earlier this year, 5-2. Disregarding the results of the ECAC tournament, the women are coming off a winning streak this month, defeating all of their February opponents, including the University of Maryland Baltimore County, St. John’s, Buffalo and Temple.

“We want to improve the way each of our players play this weekend,” said women’s head coach Mike Stevens. “This week all the girls have their individual goals.”

According to Stevens, junior Sarah O’Neil had an excellent outcome last weekend, toppling the country’s No. 89-ranked player from Princeton on Friday, 6-2, 6-4. O’Neil also fought hard against Columbia’s Nicole Bartlett in singles the following day.

“Sarah almost beat the region’s number one ranked player from Columbia on Sunday,” Stevens said. “We expect her to do well.”

Stevens and Tanasoiu spoke of their teams with pride, highlighting how hard the athletes have been working.

“All the women have been working very hard at practice, and we want to make sure they’re getting their games set better for each competition,” Stevens said.

Tanasoiu is expecting similar results from the men’s team.

“There are specific things I’m expecting each player to do, and I’m very confident that the results will come,” he said.

Original Author: Tina Ahmadi