Continuing an impressive season, Cornell Men’s Tennis swept its slate of games this weekend with wins over Dartmouth (10-13, 2-3 Ivy) and Harvard (16-9, 4-1). The wins move the Red into first place in the Ivy League standings.
“This weekend was a testimony to our guys’ toughness and there was a tremendous amount of heart across the board,” said head coach Silviu Tanasoiu.
The Red battled 15 to 20 m.p.h. winds and temperatures in the high 80s in the two road matches.
“I think the conditions were adverse,” Tanasoiu said.
With the conditions likely a factor, Cornell’s play was far from flawless over the weekend.
“I don’t think we played particularly well in doubles and we didn’t play fantastic in singles either,” Tanasoiu said.
On Saturday, Cornell struggled out of the gate and Dartmouth took an early lead by securing the doubles point.
Cornell rallied with a string of wins from senior Chris Vrabel, junior Daniel Grunberger, sophomore David Volfson and freshmen Lev Kazakov and Pietro Rimondini to beat Dartmouth, 4-2.
Senior Colin Sinclair, who has been dominant for the Red this season, lost the first singles match in straight sets.
“This team has a relentless refuse-to-lose attitude,” Tanasoiu said. “We were looking for a way to overcome the adversity and ultimately we did.”
One of the strengths of this Cornell team is that Tanasoiu can rely on consistent performances up and down the line up. When one player struggles, Tanasoiu knows he can rely on the rest of his players.
Kazakov and Rimondini have been crucial additions to a team already loaded with talent and have solidified the Cornell roster. Coming into this season, expectations were high.
“We knew this was a special group and we’ve had four seniors who have set the example with tremendous leadership across the board,” Tanasoiu said. “We also have an extremely talented group of freshmen and the combination of these groups have given us the belief that we can compete against anyone on the schedule.”
On Sunday, a similar scenario played out.
After Cornell lost the doubles point, Kazakov dropped the number three singles match in straight sets. Again, Cornell battled back and the rest of the players carried the load knowing they had little room for error.
This time around, Sinclair was in form to secure the win at number one singles. Vrabel also won a tight match at number two singles after saving a match point.
Rimondini came in clutch for the Red again, winning his number five match in straight sets. But it was Grunberger who secured the win for the Red after dropping the first set.
Cornell beat Harvard, 4-2, and jumped into a three-way tie for first place with Columbia (15-4. 4-1) and Harvard.
This weekend, the Red will take on Yale and Brown at Reis Tennis Center in what will be the determining weekend for the Ivy League title.
“We know Yale and Brown are very strong teams and it’s been a battle ever since we started the Ivy League,” Tanasoiu said.
The home games are a welcome benefit for Cornell who has contended with various venues and conditions on the road.
“We’ve been on the road for quite some time and we are looking forward to celebrating our seniors and getting as much support as we can get,” Tanasoiu said. “These guys have changed this program and we are so humbled by having had a chance to work for them.”