Cornell women’s tennis played its second and third Ivy League matches of the season this weekend against Princeton and Penn, which resulted in 0-7 and 3-4 losses, bringing the team’s Ivy record to 0-3 this season.
Despite the lopsided loss against Princeton on Friday, senior captain Priyanka Shah and sophomore Ananya Dua prevailed in their doubles match, 6-1, against the 89th-ranked team in the nation.
“We started very aggressive from the first ball and played solid tennis,” Shah said. “We focused on high percentages and sticking our volleys. I’m excited to play the next five matches and hopefully come out with five other doubles wins with [Dua].”
Riding on their momentum in doubles on Friday, Shah and Dua again delivered a clean performance against Penn on Sunday, winning 6-2. This brought their overall record in Ivy play as partners to 2-0.
“I would say that our team dynamic has improved significantly since the first match that we played together [about a month ago],” Dua said. “Something that contributed to our successful weekend was our energy. From the first ball, we were aggressive with our strokes, which gave us momentum.”
Shah and Dua were also dominant in their singles matches against Penn. Shah was victorious with a 6-4, 6-4 win, while Dua came back from a first set loss to win 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.
“After the first set, I knew that I was still in the match because the games were close,” Dua said. “Before the second set, I decided to stick with my original game plan, but I slowed things down between points to stay calm.”
Coming off of a lone win for the Red against Columbia March 31, senior Madison Stevens played two close matches this weekend. Stevens lost 5-7, 1-6 in the match against Princeton. Against Penn, however, she was able to improve upon her performance from to clinch the Red’s third and final point, winning 5-7, 7-5 (10-7) in a super tiebreaker.
“Against Penn, I really wanted to focus on keeping it close and not letting [Penn’s Jimena Rodriguez-Benito] get the momentum from having won the second set,” Stevens said. “In the tiebreaker, I didn’t want to have any regrets, so I really went for my shots and tried to stay aggressive.”
Shah said Stevens’ focus on fearlessness and confidence against Penn bode well for her team’s upcoming Ivy matches.
“I want to see a little bit more heart, a little bit more grit and the love of being out there,” Shah said. “I hope to see people rise to the occasion and handle their nerves.”
The Red is on the road again next weekend, taking on Dartmouth on Saturday and Harvard on Sunday.
“There’s a lot of things that we know we have to work on at practice this week,” Stevens said. “Hopefully, we can implement these strategies to turn a 3-4 loss into a 4-3 win against Dartmouth and Harvard.”