Cornell men’s tennis throttled past Princeton and Penn in two impressive matches over the weekend. The No. 24 ranked Red defeated Princeton 4-1 on Friday before ousting Penn 4-2 in a road win on Sunday.
The back-to-back conference wins pushed the Red (17-3, 2-1 Ivy) into third place in the Ivy League.
“I thought Princeton played a lot better this time around than when we played them down in the ECAC tournament,” said head coach Silviu Tanasoiu. “We did a very good job finishing off third sets and winning four matches there.”
While Princeton (10-11, 0-2) was competitive in all matches on Friday, Cornell closed the door when it mattered most.
The senior doubles pairing of Colin Sinclair and Chris Vrabel won the first match of the day with a 6-4 third set victory. Sophomore David Volfson and freshman Lev Kazakov also secured a third set win with a 7-5 performance to give Cornell an early two point lead.
“We did a very good job finishing off third sets and winning four matches there,” Tanasoiu said.
Sinclair, Vrabel and Kazakov all won singles matches in the third set as well. Kazakov’s 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 win sealed things for the Red.
“It was good to see Lev, as a freshman in that situation, rise up and finish the match,” Tanasoiu said.
On Sunday, the Red brought similar crunch-time execution in the team’s first outdoor match of the season.
“I thought there were some tough conditions,” Tanasoiu said. “It was very windy and the guys responded well to probably some of the toughest conditions we will face.”
Cornell has not had a lot of practice time outside thus far this season.
“For us to play our first outdoor match as a conference match was definitely a challenge,” Tanasoiu said.
The team rose to the occasion against Penn (13-8, 0-2), securing the doubles point on the day with victories from the Sinclair-Vrabel and Kazakov-Volfson pairings.
While Sinclair and Vrabel both dropped their singles matches on the day, the Red benefited from big performances from Kazakov and fellow freshman Pietro Rimondini.
Junior Daniel Grunberger also came in clutch from the sixth singles spot with a victory for the Red.
Cornell will look to carry this momentum into against Dartmouth and Harvard Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
“We are looking forward to this next weekend,” Tanasoiu said. “I think everyone in the Ivy League right now is in combat mode so I think we are going to be ready.”
Tanasoiu said he expects strong competition from the two opponents, especially with both teams playing on their home courts.
“We expect two very challenging matches from both of them,” Tanasoiu said. “We’ve had some good practices and we are going to make sure to head outside in these next couple days to prepare.”
Cornell’s two-game road stint comes at a crucial point in the season, with all Ivy League teams jockeying for position in tight standings.
“I think we are ready,” Tanasoiu said.