This past weekend, the Cornell women’s tennis team travelled east to New Haven, Connecticut, to compete in Yale’s Bulldog Invitational. Over the course of three days, Cornell matched up against Ivy League counterparts Harvard, Brown and non-conference rival Boston College.
Cornell began the tournament against Harvard, a matchup that resulted in a doubles win for freshmen Sara Campbell and Katherine Nguyen. The Red improved on Friday’s showing with an equally impressive win on Saturday against Brown. The Red notched two singles victories, one by Nguyen at No. 1 singles and one by freshman Maria Adiaconitei at No. 3 singles. The Red posted its best results on Sunday, winning four matches against a strong Boston College Team with 3 singles victories and one doubles win.
“It was a great tournament for the women to compete in,” head coach Mike Stevens said. “There was a lot of great competition and a chance to see how they have been improving since we got started on Sept. 7 and the results show how hard the team is working.”
Stevens stressed the importance of individual improvement for each player and accentuated the team mantra to get “one percent better each day.”
With a roster composed mostly of freshmen, the team has done well to acclimate to the rigors of collegiate level tennis. Sophomore Ana Elhom, now beginning her second year with the team, detailed her role as a mentor setting an example for the new players. Being the only player on the team with a year of experience already under her belt, Elhom has become much more aware of her responsibilities as a returning player.
“We train for it, lifting on Tuesdays and Thursdays and conditioning on Mondays and Fridays in addition to all our practice times,” Elhom said of the team’s intense schedule.
Despite being nearly the same age as her teammates, Elhom’s experience in balancing the commitment of sports with academics has proven incredibly valuable to the team success. Elhom explained that the team’s tenacity and eagerness to win makes all of the work worth it.
“It goes back to the first meeting of the fall when we went over the expectations for being on the team and the culture that we want to have to reach the ultimate goal for them which […] was winning the Ivy Title,” Stevens said.
The team competes next at the ITA Regional Championship on October 11th. Selections for the tournament come out this week, and the team eagerly awaits the competition.