Claire Li/Sun Assistant Photography Editor

Spectators watch the men's Cornell v. Penn State tennis match on Jan. 30, 2022.

April 13, 2022

Cornell Tennis Beats Dartmouth, Falls to Harvard in First Ivy Matchups

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Cornell men’s tennis (14-6, 1-1 Ivy) wrapped up its spring break homestand with two sweeps of non-conference teams, St. Johns and Binghamton, a win over Ivy-rival Dartmouth and a tight loss against No. 16 Harvard. 

On April 3, the Red hosted St. Johns and overwhelmed them with a 7-0 sweep, with Cornell remarkably improving to an 11-2 record at home. All but two matches were won in straight sets. This was a well-needed morale booster after the rough couple of weeks the men’s team faced with multiple injuries. 

The Red opened the Ivy season with a match against Dartmouth (8-9, 0-3 Ivy) this past Saturday. Cornell made quick work of its opponent and cruised to a 4-1 victory over the Big Green. The Red did not drop a single set in any of the finished matches and was up a set in all the unfinished matches. The victory was clinched by freshman Radu Papoe at No. 3 singles. 

Without much of a break, the Red finished off its spring break matches the next day with a doubleheader against Harvard (13-4, 3-0 Ivy) and Binghamton (1-19, 0-8 MAC). Cornell fell to 1-1 in the Ivy League after a hard-fought 4-2 loss to the Crimson. 

“I felt a few points decided [the match] in doubles and the singles as well,” said Head Coach Silviu Tanasoiu. 

Despite the score, the match was extremely close. Two of the lost singles matches had one set go into a tiebreaker. Had the match gone the other way, it could’ve given the Red a chance to fight back in a third set. In each of the three matches that went unfinished, Cornell was up a set. 

“It shows the guys that [even though we are] not entirely healthy, we’re so close, I feel like we could’ve overcome the Harvard challenge this past weekend, they know we were knocking on the door,” Tanasoiu continued. “If we continue to be deliberate with our approach and have a clear idea on how we wanna attack these challenges, we are gonna have a chance to do some nice things.” 

The Red took out its frustrations later that day when it faced Binghamton, completely pulverizing the Bearcats in a 4-0 sweep with straight-set wins in every singles match. 

The Red will now finish off its season with solely in-conference matches. First up, it will head to New Haven to face Yale (9-9, 1-2 Ivy) on Saturday, then heading to Providence to face Brown (9-11, 0-3 Ivy) on Sunday. 

These upcoming matches are crucial as Cornell continues its quest for the Ivy League title, which was last won in 2017. The Red has five Ivy matches left within the next three weekends but is only focusing on one match at a time.

“Right now, we are just focusing on [today]… we’re focusing on things we’ve learned from the Harvard match and the things that we’ve wanted to improve and work at and we are taking it, to be honest, one day at a time,” Tanasoiu said. “I feel like we have to win the day, and that’s the mentality.” 

Cornell women’s tennis (6-9, 2-1 Ivy) had a similar spring break outing as they headed to New England to face No. 73 Boston College, Dartmouth and Harvard. 

After beating two ranked opponents in two weeks, the Red could not manage the same when it faced No. 73 Boston College (8-10, 3-8 ACC). The Eagles trounced Cornell quickly, gaining a 3-0 lead. The Red’s sole point came from sophomore Lauren Stein, whose opponent was forced to default the match after a tie in the third set. 

Keeping that loss in the rearview mirror, the Red headed to Dartmouth (7-9, 1-2 Ivy) to play its second match of the Ivy season. It was a momentous comeback victory as Cornell rallied back. The Red found itself behind when the Big Green secured the doubles point and Dartmouth and Cornell split the first four finished singles matches. The Red was down 2-3. With only No. 3 singles and No. 6 singles remaining, all eyes were on Cornell. Both matches were pushed into deciding sets after the first two were split. Stein pulled off a comeback victory at No. 3 singles after she lost the first set and won the third, tying the match at 3-3. Sophomore Jenny Wong clinched the match at No. 6 singles after winning her third set as well. 

Cornell’s unbeaten start to the Ivy season came to an end when it was handed a 2-4 loss by Harvard (12-7, 3-0 Ivy) in its first outdoor match of the season. After a back and forth start, it eventually led to the Red and Crimson tying it 2-2. The Crimson stormed forward with consecutive sets at No. 2 and No. 4 singles to win the match. 

The Red looks to get back in the Ivy win column as it welcomes No. 62 Yale (11-8, 2-1 Ivy) at noon on Saturday and Brown (6-12, 0-3 Ivy) at noon on Sunday, both at Reis Tennis Center. 

Similar to the men’s team, the women are on a quest to win the Ivy title this year, which was also last achieved in 2017. 

“We’re just getting started in the Ivy League… we have four more matches to play which is really exciting,” said Interim Head Coach Katie Zordani. “Although they lost to Harvard, it was quite a close match that really could’ve gone the other way had. “It just gives us more motivation to train like we’ve been training and put forth that energy and the same mindset that we can do something special with the remaining matches.”