Boris Tsang / Sun Photography Editor

The team, which was comprised almost entirely of freshmen, is already focused on improved performance next season.

April 22, 2019

Winless in League Play, Women’s Tennis Already Looking Ahead to 2020

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Women’s tennis wrapped up its season this weekend, remaining winless in the Ivy League.

Coming off a pair of losses against Princeton and Penn, 4-0 shutout losses against another pair of Ivy foes closed out the season for the young team. Cornell dropped its final two matches against Harvard (17-6, 5-1 Ivy) and Dartmouth (4-17, 1-6 Ivy).

Against Harvard, even though the Red (6-16, 0-7 Ivy) sustained 6-2 losses in doubles at the first and third spot, freshman duo Maria Adiaconitei and Sarah Campbell were serving for match point when they were forced to finish their match.

Despite commendable performances on the singles side, Cornell failed to secure a victory there. Freshman Katherine Nguyen won her first set and was at an advantage in the second set when play halted. Freshman Valerie Ho, who led the team with a 10-7 singles record, had battled to force her match against the third-ranked Ivy League player, Erica Oosterhout, into a third set, but losses at the fourth, fifth, and sixth positions cut the match short.

“There was a lot of energy on all the courts and it helped keep matches close and competitive,” Campbell said. “As a team, we need to do a better job of getting the doubles point by playing aggressive and smart doubles.”

Cornell remained in the comfort of Reis to take on Dartmouth the following day, where the Red celebrated its senior day. The team honored Mariko Iinuma, the team’s only senior, for her accomplishments and dedication to the program.

“Our team did an amazing job cheering and supporting each other, especially our senior Koko,” Ho said. “It was such a bittersweet weekend, but the focus was on celebrating Koko.”

“We all went out last weekend, fought hard, and competed for Koko and for Cornell, which was amazing. It didn’t fully hit me until after the match was over what Koko’s last match really meant for all of us,” Campbell continued.

Cornell hasn’t clinched a victory against Dartmouth since 2013. A home-court advantage and Senior Day celebrations were not enough to tilt the match in favor of the Red.

Power duo Campbell and Adiaconitei paired up once again, securing a 6-1 victory in their doubles match. This marked their first registered win as a pairing in Ivy League play. Doubles losses at the number one and three spots, however, gave the doubles point to the Big Green.

In singles, Dartmouth sailed through the matches at the number one and six spots, with scores of 6-1, 6-0 and 6-1, 6-2 respectively. The Red was holding on, however, with Campbell just one game away from victory and Nyguen battling into a third set. A Big Green 6-3, 6-2 win at the number four spot precluded the matches from coming to fruition.

Although the season is now over, the hunt for victory will not cease. The young team, being, aside from the graduating Iinuma, comprised of 5 freshmen, will continue to train and develop players’ skills, which will complement their newly-gained experience of playing at the collegiate level.

“In the coming season, we are looking for an Ivy title — we know what to expect and what it will take,” Campbell said. “We will start next season better prepared and stronger together.”

Both mental and physical conditioning will be a point of focus going forward as the team looks to achieve new heights and hopes to go from winless in the league to Ivy victors.

“We all have the strokes and the ability to hit, so in order to put us in Ivy Champ contention, we need to work on fitness and the mental aspect,” Ho said.

With more experience and a new batch of talent, the team looks to become a force to be reckoned with next season.