Men’s tennis asserted their Ivy League dominance once again this weekend, maintaining a perfect 4-0 conference record and extending their winning streak to 5 matches.
A fruitful trip to Philadelphia produced a 5-2 win for the Red against Penn.
Back in the comfort of the Reis Tennis Center, the team rolled past Princeton, clinching another 4-1 win.
Cornell is currently tied for first place in league standings with Harvard and Columbia. The Red holds the 60th position in the TRN/Slam.Tennis rankings.
The Red’s loss to the Quakers (16-9, 0-4 Ivy League) earlier this season in the ECAC Indoor Championships did not put a damper on this weekend’s dominant performance. Instead, the Red sailed past Penn, inching itself closer to an Ivy League title.
“Our win this weekend was certainly a good way to avenge our loss,” head coach Silviu Tanasoiu said. “We played them without our top two players last time at their place, but this time around we had both David and Alafia in the lineup and we knew that was going to make a great difference.”
Sophomore Alafia Ayeni and junior Lev Kazakov opened up doubles play, gaining the upper hand in the match with a 6-4 win. The 40th-ranked pair of junior Daniel Soyfer and senior David Volfson capitalized on the advantage with a late break and clinched the doubles point following their 6-3 win.
Singles play was not as decisive, with three matches being forced into three sets and a pair of losses from the Red.
Nevertheless, singles wins from Volfson, Kazakov, sophomore Eero Vasa, and sophomore Evan Bynoe helped the Red close out the match against the Quakers.
The weather conditions were less than perfect, with strong winds complicating play. However, Tanasoiu was impressed with how the players handled the situation.
“They handled the conditions very well — there were some 18-19 mph winds — so not your typical tennis weather,” he said. “Even with that, we competed very hard and well from top to bottom.”
The Red (13-8, 4-0 Ivy League) returned home to battle Princeton, the 50th-ranked team in the nation.
Despite two losses against the Tigers (18-9, 2-3 Ivy League) in the 2017-18 season, Princeton failed to tarnish the Red’s immaculate 8-0 home record.
After Ayeni and Kazakov breezed through their doubles match at the number 2 spot, the Tigers’ duo of Will Peters and Karl Poling equalized the advantage with a 6-3 win against junior Joseph McAllister and Vasa. Power duo Volfson and Soyfer saved the doubles point for the Red, finishing their match with a comfortable three-game margin.
The team recently restructured their doubles lineup, a strategic move that has generated success for the Red.
“We made a step forward this weekend,” Tanasoiu said. “We are heading in the right direction with all of our doubles pairs. We are getting to know each other better and execute better as partners.”
The Red clinched 3 out of the first four singles matches to carry home the Cornell victory.
Volfson and Kasakov, in the second and third spots, won their matches in straight sets. In need of just one more win, the Tigers’ Will Peters delayed the victory, beating Vasa in a grueling three-set match. Soyfer, however, defeated his opponent Bill Duo in a 7-6 (1), 6-4 match to secure the third singles win.
This weekend marked the Red’s final home match of the season. Cornell will travel to Harvard and Dartmouth next weekend, hoping to ride its winning momentum into these next matches. The contests will be on Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m.