Coming off a successful spring break, the No. 19 men's tennis team has a full head of steam going into this weekend's Ivy opener at No. 42 Cornell.
Last week, the Lions extended their 11-match win streak on the road. After beating No. 46 Michigan, they traveled to Texas where they fought hard for a pair of 4-3 victories against SMU and No. 55 TCU in subpar weather. Those wins bumped the Light Blue to No. 19 in the nation—only one notch shy of the highest ranking in the program's history.
“We had a lot of tennis during spring break,” head coach Bid Goswami said. “We played 11 sessions over six days—from Sunday to Saturday. We have worked really hard, and I think it'll help now.”
Goswami attributes the team's success to not only the hard work of the players, but to the leadership of his junior class. Because there are no seniors, Columbia's five juniors, whom Goswami likes to refer to as “the greatest generation,” have made an effort to lead by example.
“The juniors pull for each other and they work hard—they put so much work into conditioning. You can see it every day. They're like gym rats. They're always on the courts, and they'll never lose a match because they're out of shape,” Goswami said.
Tomorrow, when the Light Blue makes its way upstate, players and fans alike will be eyeing the forecast closely because it will determine whether the match will be held indoors or outdoors. If the match is held outdoors, the elements may be an obstacle against Cornell, especially if the wind kicks up.
“If we play Saturday outside, it'll be a bit nerve wracking for me, but I have faith in the guys. They seem like they're up for any challenge,” Goswami said.
Although the Big Red dropped in the rankings after losing to both No. 30 Harvard and No. 40 Dartmouth at the ECAC Championships earlier this year, Goswami recalled Cornell's recent accomplishments to highlight how seriously the team should be taken.
“Just recently, they beat St. John's 7-0, and they went down to Virginia and topped VCU, which is a really good team, and beat them at their home,” he said. “They are a solid team, and I could see this match going down to the wire, but I think we can prevail.”
Matches begin at 1 p.m. in Ithaca, N.Y.