Courtesy of Cornell Athletics

In a rematch of a victory earlier this season, the Red again triumphed over St. John's.

March 20, 2016

As Ivy Matches Approach, Men’s Tennis Defeats St. John’s, 4-2

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The men’s tennis team kept up its spring momentum with a 4-2 upset over St. John’s on Friday. Despite its prior victory over the Red Storm, this was by no means a straight-forward win. The team had to deal with a multitude of challenges to pull out a victory, according to head coach Silviu Tanasoiu.

“We were in a very tough position,” Tanasoiu said. “This was the fourth time we had played outdoors this entire year, we didn’t have a chance to practice on the courts the night before, and the conditions were quite averse — 20 mph winds. I thought our guys adjusted to the circumstances really well.”

These hectic circumstances fueled what proved to be an exciting match. In its climax, Senior Stefan Vinti fought off seven set points before clinching the men’s team’s victory.

“It was really good for [Vinti] to get that win,” said junior Colin Sinclair. “He was down 15-40 serving triple set point and came back to win the game. It was a close match.”

While it was a huge win for Vinti, Tanasoiu attributes the Red’s win over St. John’s to a solid team effort.

“To be honest, I was very happy,” Tanasoiu said. “I just felt that overall as a team, we were very composed, and we remained focused on playing disciplined tennis.”

It should also be noted that freshman David Volfson won in straight sets against St. John’s number one.

“I thought he played standard tennis,” Tanasiou said. “From the first point — he was under control emotionally, he had a very good game plan and he stuck with it. He’s looking very comfortable. He played a very smart match.”

“Standard tennis” doesn’t sound exciting, but it highlights a main thing one watches out for in a great tennis player: consistency. Any tennis player will tell you the incredible work ethic it takes to become a really consistent player. According to head coach Tanasiou, this is where Volfson stands out.

“He’s extremely determined,” Tanasiou said. “He works as hard as anybody. [He’s] a very physical player.”

However, Tanasiou also said that Volfson has the natural talent to back up his work ethic.

“I wouldn’t label him as a grinder,” Tanasiou said. “He has the ability to control points, dictate and be very aggressive. He’s got good pieces all across the board.”

Going forward, the men’s team is looking at the climax of its regular season — the beginning of Ivy League match-ups. Beginning with Columbia on the 26th of March, the men have three matches at home.

Tanasoiu confidently claims that the men’s team has an edge due to its depth of talent.

“I feel good where we are right now,” Tanasoiu said. “We’ve been training well, and we’re still firing off from all cylinders. There were a lot more players firing than the previous matches. That’s encouraging — the more pieces we have to the puzzle, the more challenging we’ll be to any team we face.”

Still, Tanasoiu knows all too well the challenges these Ivy League competitors will bring to the table.

“We have one of the toughest schedules in the country — but I think we’re ready,” Tanasoiu said. “We know what to expect.”

Sinclair also said that despite the Red’s results so far, the men are feeling confident going into the next matches, especially given their home-court advantage and the fact that these matches will be played outdoors, weather permitting.

“I think we’re feeling OK,” Sinclair said. “It’s not a great season in terms of results — but we’re feeling good. I think we’re more of an outdoor team.”

The men’s in-conference season begins on Saturday, March 26th against Columbia at home. This will be the first of three back-to-back-to-back Ivy League match-ups all at home. Tanasiou said he is hoping that the Cornell community will show up in droves to support the men’s team during this exciting time.

“We’re very excited to start off the Ivy League,” Tanasiou said. “We rely on the support of our community to carry us through these first couple of weeks.”