Dana Daniels | Sun Staff Photographer

The Red's last march of the season was also its first that took place outdoors.

April 20, 2016

Men’s and Women’s Tennis Finish Seasons Strong, But on Different Notes

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The Cornell women’s tennis team (15-8, 4-3 Ivy) lost to the Princeton Tigers (13-9, 5-2 Ivy), 5-2, on Sunday in the Ivy League Championship game. The victory sends the Tigers to the NCAA tournament. However, the women did not come out of the weekend completely empty handed stealing a win at Penn on Friday.

Sunday was also Senior Day for the women’s team, during which Jane Stewart and Dena Tanenbaum were honored in their last contest at Reis.

Leaving the team next year will certainly be tough for both players.

“This team has become like a second family to me,” Tanenbaum said. “I really couldn’t imagine these last four years without it.”

Emotions ran rampant leading up to Sunday’s showdown, with the Ivy title on the line, as the team took to outdoor courts for the first time all season. Pressure was building, and the Red was definitely feeling it.

“Of course pressure is a factor in that situation when the Ivy title is on the line,” Tanenbaum said.

It was a back-and-forth contest, with Cornell frequently finding the early lead in the singles, before dropping matches in the third set. Nonetheless, the girls fought valiantly, and their captain praises them for it.

“I was really proud of the way everyone competed in both matches this weekend,” Tanenbaum said. “In both we fought until the end.”

The men’s team (11-10, 5-2 Ivy) stayed home this past Friday to take on the Penn Quakers (7-14, 2-3 Ivy) while celebrating Senior Day for Stefan Vinti. Unfortunately, Vinti did not get to finish his match and chalk up another win for singles. Nevertheless, the Red came away with its 3rd Ivy win and packed its bags for Princeton on Sunday with some confidence.

The men carried this momentum to defeat the Tigers (15-9, 3-3 Ivy) and keep their hopes of an NCAA tournament bid alive. Head oach Silviu Tanasoiu celebrated his second straight winning season overseeing the Red after defeating Princeton, but Bernardo Casares Rosa ’17 was the true hero of the day.

Rosa trailed 4-1 in the third set before flipping the script and clinching the match for Cornell. It is still up in the air as to whether or not the team will enter the NCAA tournament, but Coach Tanasoiu is not worried.

Sunday’s contest marked a rematch between these two sides, with Princeton taking the last one in the ECAC Indoor Championship finals. With back to back wins, the team is looking strong, and Coach Tanasoiu is already looking ahead to next fall.

“It is always encouraging to finish a season strong. It gives us plenty to look forward to over the summer and this upcoming fall,” he said. “We have only one senior graduating, and we are adding one of the strongest groups we [have] had in the last five years for this upcoming fall.”

However, the Red must stay focused on the present. An NCAA tournament bid is definitely possible, so the Red cannot let hopes about next year distract them from the task at hand.