Coming off of four consecutive wins and a nearly three-week respite, the women’s tennis team was looking to finish out its out-of-conference slate strong and pick up two more victories before the team heads into Ivy League play.
“The time off certainly gave us time to work on different aspects that we needed to improve on from the last match two and a half weeks ago, not just for the match against Colgate, but also to get everyone ready for the Ivy League schedule, which is only about a week away.” said head coach Mike Stevens.
The squad was eager to get back on the court after the time off, and it showed as they defeated Colgate 6-1 at home.
Cornell won all three doubles matches, as well as the top five singles matches. In those five matches, the Red only lost a combined ten games and all five were straight set victories.
“We just took it to Colgate,” said junior Priyanka Shah. “We started off strong, and we knew what we had to do in order to win. It was just about us playing our best, and we did a really nice job of going out there and playing to our strengths.”
The last time the Red faced the Raiders was in 2011, when Cornell swept Colgate 7-0. Additionally, the win over Colgate improved the Red’s win-streak to five, with one match to go before conference play.
“It is always really helpful when you can win a few matches in a row before the Ivy League season,” said senior Marika Cusick. “I think that now we are really confident about the rest of the year, and the fact that we won these past five matches will help our confidence and momentum even more.”
Although the team was heavily favored, the women still feel that it was nice to get another win under their belt, especially just a week before their Ivy League opener against Columbia.
“I’m so excited to start Ivy League play next week,” said senior Alexandra D’Ascenzo. “It is definitely my favorite part of the season, and it is my last one, so I am really hoping to play the best that we can and to come out with a win after every day.”
While lone seniors Cusick and D’Ascenzo have been consistently excellent at the top of the Cornell lineup, the team has also relied on juniors Shah, who improved her personal season record to an impressive 9-1 in the win against Colgate, and Lizzie Stewart, who sits at 8-4 in the 2017 campaign.
The Red will have one final tune-up before its league slate when it hosts Binghamton on Sunday. Cornell has six consecutive wins over the Bearcats, and is hoping to make it a seventh at Reis Tennis Center this weekend.
“Against Binghamton, I am looking to make sure that when the women go out there, they are all still focused on the process and the goals that they have been working on really since August,” Stevens said. “We are just taking it one day at a time, and as coaches, we are trying to make sure that everyone is focused on playing their best tennis.”
Again, Cornell is expected to win the match, but the team has made it a point not to overlook Binghamton in favor of next week’s Ivy League match. The women are going to try to treat it as importantly as an Ivy League match in preparation for the next week’s meeting against Columbia.
“We are going in obviously trying to win, but also to boost our confidence one last time before the Ivy League matches,” D’Ascenzo said.