April 4, 2012

TENNIS | Men, Women Face Ivy Rivals Harvard and Dartmouth

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This weekend, the men’s and women’s tennis teams are set to play Harvard and Dartmouth.

The men will be hosting nationally ranked Harvard (16-1) on Saturday at 2 pm and Dartmouth (14-1) on Sunday at the same time.

“We are not treating these matches differently than we have any other match this season,” said head coach Silviu Tanasoiu. “We are preparing in the same way we always do and we are hopeful that we are going to be a lot more successful than we have in the past.”

The Red (7-12, 0-1 Ivy) is coming off a four game losing streak, having fallen in a close 4-3 match against Columbia last weekend. In all six of Cornell’s 4-3 losses this season, the doubles point determined the winner.

“We had a very close match against Columbia [last weekend] that taught us a lot of things, and hopefully we are going to be able to learn from our mistakes and play better against Harvard and Dartmouth,” Tanasoiu said.

No. 20 Harvard opens its Ivy season at Reis Tennis Center this weekend. The Crimson enters in on a 12-match winning streak. The young Red squad briefly crossed paths with Harvard this season in October during the USTA/ITA Northeast Regionals.

“Harvard has been playing some good tennis,” said freshman Venkat Iyer. “They are a good team, but so are we and we definitely feel capable of taking them down. We feel more than ready for the match and we are excited for the challenge … We have been playing good tennis in practice and we’re excited to hopefully get the win on Saturday.”

Dartmouth is coming off a seven-match winning streak of its own.

“We all know what we need to do on the court,” Iyer said. “We’ve gone through a lot of things like discipline, focus being dialed in every day in practice … [We need] energy, discipline and stamina to play the tennis that we want to play. If we can execute the type of tennis that we want I think we will be fine.”

The women’s team (8-5, 0-1), which has played its last four matches on the road, will play two more away from Reis as it heads to Cambridge, Mass. and Hanover, N.H. this weekend.

“I think that it can make a difference playing on the road,” said sophomore Ryann Young. “But, we learn to tune out their fans and focus on our game. We can’t let the little things bother us.”

On Friday at 2 p.m. the Red women takes on Harvard (7-1) and then faces Dartmouth (6-8) on Saturday at noon.

“We are definitely looking forward to going to play both Harvard and Dartmouth,” said head coach Mike Stevens. “We had a really close match last year with Dartmouth, it was 4-3 and came down to the last singles match on the court … This year we are looking forward to another good match with them.”

Harvard has won six of its last seven matches. If the Red can come away with a victory on Friday, it will be Cornell’s first time beating Harvard in Cambridge. Even at home, the Red’s lone victory over the Crimson was April 6, 2007, as the two teams’ all-time series record is 31-1 in favor of Harvard.

“They are definitely two really competitive teams, but with that were still going to go in fighting,” Young said. “We proved that we can play with any team in the league we just have to stay focused, compete well and not really think about our nerves.”

Cornell has some strong players up its sleeve, including Young — who generally plays at the No. 3 spot — who is 11-1 in singles this season. Freshmen Sara Perelman and Rosemary Li had a 10-1 record in doubles.

“We’re working on playing the big points well,” Young said. “We are really working on putting the ball away, a lot of doubles practice as usual because the doubles point is so important.”

“The girls have been working hard all week preparing for both matches,” Stevens said.

Original Author: Dani Abada