After a commanding 4-1 win over Penn on Friday, Cornell men’s tennis failed to sustain their dominance — dropping matches to both Harvard and Princeton this weekend at the ECAC Indoor Championships in a fourth place finish.
The championships, which featured all but one Ivy League school, opened on Friday as the third-seeded Red took on the sixth-seeded Quakers (3-5). Led by the return of sophomore Lev Kazakov, who missed the match against Penn State last weekend, the Red dominated the singles matches, winning 4-1.
However, the momentum did not carry over to the semifinal match against a second-seeded Harvard (9-2) team on Saturday. While senior Daniel Grunberger dominated 6-3 for his sixth singles victory of the season, the Crimson took two three-set matches to clinch the match, 4-1, eliminating the Red from championship contention.
Sustaining mental focus has been a point of emphasis for the team throughout the season, so the pair of three-set losses to Harvard reminded the team how far it still has to go.
“We certainly need to get a lot tougher across the board,” reflected head coach Silviu Tanasoiu.
The Red then played Princeton (6-4) in the third place match on Sunday. The Tigers hit the ground running and took a 1-0 lead, but junior David Volfson landed a critical win that tied the match for Cornell. The back and forth continued into subsequent sets, but the Red’s effort fell just short as Princeton was able to hold on 4-3.
Despite falling short of expectations, the fourth place finish still provided a valuable experience for the young team, affording the squad with an important opportunity to evaluate and, ultimately, improve its play going forward.
“We need to get better as a team. We are a tougher group than we showed in this event and that will reflect after the next month of preparation,” Tanasoiu said. “We need to develop the ability to overcome adversity.”
The Red will hit the road to take on Iowa on March 2 and Oregon on March 3.