Courtesy of Cornell Athletics

Senior Jane Stewart helped the Red to victories over UConn and Ablany

February 17, 2016

TENNIS | Men Place Second in Indoor Championships, Women Beat UConn and Albany

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Both the men’s and women’s tennis teams took to the courts this past weekend. The men’s team (3-6) came home in second place in the ECAC Indoor Championships, losing to Princeton in the final. The women’s team (4-3) won both of its matches against UConn and Albany.

The men’s team began the weekend by playing against St. John’s on Friday. Coming into the match, Cornell was facing a five-match losing streak, while St. John’s was riding a seven-game winning streak.

By singles-match wins by junior Colin Sinclair, junior Chris Vrabel and doubles wins by Sinclair, freshman David Volfson, Vrabel and junior Bernardo Casares Rosa, the Red came away with a 4-1 victory.

Head coach Silviu Tanasoiu said he was impressed with how well his team bounced back against St. John’s.

“We had one of the toughest schedules in the country to start our spring semester,” Tanasoiu said. “We did not start the way we wanted, but we knew all along we are a good team. Through training and competing the right way, we were able to make some good strides. We are starting to execute on all cylinders and we are sure that there will be positive things ahead of us.”

On Saturday, Casares Rosa, Vrabel, Sinclair and Volfson all won their doubles-matches, and Volfson, Vrabel and Casares Rosa all won their singles matches to give Cornell a 4-1 victory over Harvard in the ECAC semifinals, the Red’s first win in five matches against Harvard. On Sunday, the Red took on Princeton in the finals and fell short with Sinclair accounting for the Red’s only point.

Despite the strong performance, Casares Rosa remains critical of the team’s performance at the tournament. He said he believes that the team could have beaten Princeton.

“I think that we have a good enough team to beat Princeton, and any other team,” he said. “But since every team is competitive, we have to make sure we take advantage of the few opportunities the other team gives us during the match. Against them, we had a lot of very difficult matches where the game was decided in just a few points. They were the ones who took responsibility, played better, and took the title away from us.”

The women took on UConn on Friday, holding them off, 4-3. Junior Alexandra D’Ascenzo won both her singles and doubles matches, with the clinching win coming from sophomore Priyanka Shah at the No. 5 singles position. Wins also came from senior Jane Stewart at singles and junior Marika Cusick at doubles paired with D’Ascenzo.

The women’s team came away with a more convincing victory against Albany on Sunday, winning 5-2. The Red swept all three doubles matches, with singles victories coming from Cusick, D’Ascenzo and sophomore Lizzie Stewart.

Both D’Ascenzo and Cusick were impressed with how their team performed this weekend, and are excited to see what the rest of the season will hold.

“Our two wins this weekend were really exciting, and the team is continuing to gain confidence and experience as the season goes on,” Cusick said. “We are looking to improve with each coming match. I think our team needs to focus on improving one match at a time. It is a long season, and I believe that as the season progresses, we will continue to get better.”

D’Ascenzo echoed these sentiments.

“Winning two matches this weekend definitely helps everyone with the confidence, both individually and as a team,” she said. “We need to keep working on everything that we have been doing in practice and just continue to build up our confidence and keep improving throughout the season.”

The men’s team will take on Penn State, Saturday the 20th at University Park, Pennsylvania, and the women’s team will play NJIT on the 20th in Ithaca.