Aubrey Akers/Sun File Photo

Men's Tennis beat the University of Buffalo 7-0 to begin its season.

April 8, 2019

Men’s Tennis Shuts Out Ivy Rivals to Start Conference Play

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Men’s tennis soared past Ivy League competitors Brown and Yale this weekend, extending its spotless home match record to 7-0 and their Ivy League record to 2-0.

Against the Bears on Saturday, the Red went undefeated in singles play and dropped just one doubles match to secure a landslide 7-0 win.

The doubles round opened with a 6-4 win from sophomore Eero Vasa and junior Joseph McAllister at the number 3 spot. The Bears (8-8, 1-1 Ivy League) neutralized the lead, however, when Ching Lam and Jacob Walker defeated Cornell’s sophomore Alafia Ayeni and junior Lev Kazakov at the second position.

The Red managed to close the doubles round with the advantage, as the nationally-ranked duo of junior Daniel Soyfer and senior David Volfson just barely bested Brown’s Roger Chou and Charles Tan in a 7-6 (6) match.

“We knew Brown had one of the best doubles teams in the Ivy League, and we knew that the doubles point was going to be important just for momentum purposes and for the overall outcome of the match,” head coach Silviu Tanasoiu said.

Despite failing to execute upon previous match points, Tanasoiu was particularly impressed with the mental toughness of the Soyfer-Volfson pairing.

“I was very proud of how David and Daniel handled themselves,” Tanasoiu said. “They were perseverant, and they didn’t get sidetracked by their emotions or disappointment of not closing out the set earlier. They stayed disciplined in the tiebreaker and when it mattered most, I think they executed very well.”

Cornell (11-8, 2-0 Ivy League) channeled this momentum into their singles play and quickly went up 4-0 against the Bears. Cornell’s Evan Bynoe at the sixth spot, David Volfson at the third and Daniel Soyfer at the fourth swept their competition in straight sets. To top off the win, Ayeni, at the first singles position, edged out Brown’s Peter Litsky in a 7-6, 6-3 match.

The team carried the previous day’s success into their next match against Yale, clinching a 4-0 win without surrendering a single set. Cornell historically has been dominant against Yale — out of their last 12 meetings, this weekend marked the Red’s 10th win.

All three doubles teams won their matches with comfortable margins to tilt the match in favor of the Red.

The Red left the singles round undefeated as well. Quick wins from Kazakov at the number 2 spot, Soyfer at the number 4 spot and Vasa at the number 5 spot sealed the match for the Red. The Red competitors sailed through their matches in straight sets.

“I think we worked very hard in preparation for the Ivies, and I was happy to see a lot of our work executed by the guys over the weekend,” Tanasoiu said.

Despite their success, the team realizes that there are always improvements to be made.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” Tanasoiu said. “We just changed our doubles lineup — this weekend was the first time we played with the new lineup, so I feel like we have some shaping to do with those teams and chemistry building.”

The Red will travel to Philadelphia next weekend, looking to secure another Ivy League win against the University of Pennsylvania. The match will take place on Saturday at 1 p.m. The team will return home to the Reis Tennis Center on Sunday to take on Princeton at 1 p.m.