Claire Li/Sun Assistant Photography Editor

Matthew Druyanoff prepares for a return hit in match against Penn State on Jan. 30, 2022

March 21, 2022

Men’s Tennis Perseveres, While Women’s Tennis Has Four-Straight Wins

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Cornell men’s tennis (11-3), ranked 61st in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) national rankings after its Sunday doubleheader with a win over 66th ranked Western Michigan (8-7) by a scoreline of 5-1. 

The Red secured the doubles point after a tightly-contested match when freshman duo Nathan Mao and Adit Sinha won in a tiebreaker. Freshman Jack McCarthy and freshman Radu Papoe won in straight-sets at No. 6 and No. 2 singles, respectively, to give Cornell a 3-1 lead over the Broncos. Seniors Pietro Rimondini and Evan Bynoe closed out the match with three-set victories at No. 3 and No. 4 singles, respectively. 

Cornell continued its dominance when it swept Bucknell (4-13) later that afternoon by 4-0, without dropping a single set in singles or doubles. 

During the progression of the season, the Red has been battling injuries for the past few weeks. Players are consistently in and out of the lineup with other players having to step up at the last minute. 

“Given the circumstances, we’re still not healthy, and played without one of our better players, Vlad Melnic…I thought the guys fought really hard, I didn’t think we played particularly well, but I thought they fought really, really hard in both doubles and singles and ultimately got the win as a result of that,” said Head Coach Silviu Tanasoiu. 

Tanasoiu is happy that the players who were last-minute additions are doing well. 

“The guys that are given the opportunity [to play] are making the most of it, so that’s certainly encouraging,” Tanasoiu said.

Injuries aside, the Red hopes to keep its momentum going as it heads to Tampa this weekend to face USF on Saturday before facing VCU in Tampa for a neutral-site match. 

“It consolidates the fact that we are a good team”, Tanasoiu said. “Even though we are not fully healthy, we’re still incredibly competitive across the board.”

The Red women’s team (4-7) returned home with two more wins under its belt. After starting the season 0-7, women’s tennis has found its rhythm with four-straight wins, including this past weekend’s wins over Army (15-7) and Boston University (5-7). 

Cornell began the weekend in West Point, NY, competing against Army. Right from the start, the Red dominated. With wins from the bottom two doubles matches, freshman Alexandra Savu at No. 6 singles and senior Katherine Nguyen at No. 2 singles, the Red received a 3-0 lead. Sophomore Lauren Stein clinched the match at No. 3 singles with a three-set victory over Army’s Cooper Jackson. Stein handed Jackson her second loss in 11 singles matches this season. 

The Red continued the momentum as it faced Boston University on Sunday morning, winning 5-1. Stein once again clinched the match for Cornell as she completed a three-set comeback victory against BU’s Shelly Yaloz. 

Freshman Lan Mi has been a standout player for the Red, compiling a total record of 9-1 this season at the No. 1 position. Mi began her collegiate career last fall at only 16 years old. Though now 17 years old, she is still relatively young for a freshman. While coming to a new environment like Cornell while balancing athletics and academics, it can be demanding, Mi has been unstoppable, though. 

“Lan is an extremely hard worker, she is extremely dedicated to the game of tennis as well as her academics,” said Interim Head Coach Katie Zordani. “She just raises the level of practice, in terms of intensity…and it shows in her matches with her results.”

Mi and the rest of the team will head to New York City to begin Ivy play. Starting it off will be Columbia on Saturday, March 26 at 1 pm. 

The Red previously faced the Ivy League competition this season at the ECAC Indoor Championships, however, Cornell lost all three matches against Princeton, Yale and Dartmouth. 

“The girls are extremely excited…It’s been two years without competition and there is a whole element of playing your conference and with that being said, everyone is just extremely excited and ready to play those matches”, Zordani said.