October 10, 2012

TENNIS | Men, Women Find Success In New York

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Both the men’s and women’s tennis teams return to Ithaca with positive results from this past weekend. Both squads were in New York City  — the men at the Columbia Classic and the women at the USTA BJK NTC College Invitational.

The men came away from the weekend with six of the eight bracket titles. The Red swept all three main singles draws, and won a doubles and two singles consolations.

“We ended up winning all three of the singles brackets and one of the two doubles brackets, so I think as a team we did really well considering we didn’t do that well at Princeton,” said sophomore Quoc-Daniel Nguyen. “We really came together as a team the past few weeks. In practice we’ve been really good and I think it showed last weekend [at Columbia] … We were supporting each other a lot.”

“Throughout the week, we discussed several things we wanted to see from a coaching standpoint and a majority of the players were able to condition those concepts into match play in the tournament and I was very pleased with that,” said head coach Silviu Tanasoiu.

Second-seeded freshman Dragos Dima beat third seeded Dragos Ignat of Columbia to win A Singles, and Nguyen defeated Fordham’s Emilio Mora for the B Singles title.

“I thought [Dima] had his best weekend yet playing for Cornell, and that was very encouraging, to see him competing at a very high level,” Tanasoiu said.

Junior Spencer Clark won C Singles after beating Red classmate Alex Wilton. Sophomore Sam Fleck and Nguyen topped a Fairfield duo to take the A Doubles Championship. Lastly, sophomores Alex Sidney and Kyle Berman took the A and B Singles Consolation finals.

“Overall, I thought it was a solid tournament,” Tanasoiu said. “I thought there were many things that we did right throughout the tournament, and I hope that we can build upon that experience … I think we can improve on our execution and there are still several elements that we are going to be working on in the upcoming week based on Columbia.”

This weekend, the Red hosts the Cornell Invitational at Reis Tennis Center.

“It’s going to be the first time we play at home this fall, so hopefully we will get some people out [to watch us play] which will be good and fun,” Nguyen said. “Just playing at home is always really good, we have the home court advantage so I think that will help even more.”

Nguyen talked about how this success at Columbia, against other Ivy competitors, helped the team mentally as well as physically.

“Going into the Cornell Invitational and regionals, I think we are pretty confident and how we played this weekend really helped boost our confidence going forward,” he said.

Tanasoiu expects his team to continue on the path it has started on this season.

“Our expectations are very similar week in and week out,” he said. “We just expect them to build upon last weekend. We expect a steady performance overall and for the team to execute the things we have been working on in practice. We want to make sure we transition all those elements into match play — that’s the bottom line, they need to get comfortable with our philosophy and apply that in match situations.”

The women also had a successful weekend at the National Tennis Center College Invitational in Flushing, N.Y.

“Everyone on our team competed really well this weekend, and it’s always fun to play at the national tennis center,” said sophomore Courtney Malinchak.

Malinchak had an especially impressive weekend, as she came away from the tournament with a singles title.

“Courtney Malinchak certainly had a very strong showing for Cornell,” said head coach Mike Stevens. “She won her flight, which was sixth, and played really well in all of her matches. She really didn’t have very difficult matches because she played so well — a couple of difficult sets now and then, but she played really well and really had a great tournament.”

On Sunday, freshman Laila Judeh and sophomore Sara Perelman fell in the semifinals, both to competitors from Columbia. The next day, Malinchak went on to claim the F Singles bracket crown.

“Judeh had a great showing, she won some really difficult rounds to get to the semis and played a really good semi match,” Stevens said.

However, despite the positive outcomes of the weekend, the Red is also looking for its weaknesses so that they can be improved upon as the season progresses, according to Stevens.

“I thought our doubles teams did not do as strong of a job as we were hoping for,” he said. “We definitely need to work on some new doubles combinations for after the fall, and see what we can work on that might be stronger for us.”

The Red has a weekend to rest, before its season wraps up at West Point, N.Y., where the team will be competing in the ITA Northeast Regionals.

The experience gained this past weekend will be helpful to Cornell as it moves on with its season.

“The next tournament is regionals in two weeks, so we’ll be working on doing a lot of drilling of some of the things that didn’t look so good at the singles games, but that’s different for every person,” Stevens said. “It’s very individual; each person has things they need to work on to get the team to the next level … We really focus on them and their individual weaknesses and what we can improve, so we’ll be doing that for the next few weeks before regionals.”

Original Author: Dani Abada