Tennis begins spring season at Cornell Invitational

The Seton Hall tennis team came out of the gate with a strong start to its spring season, capped off by a Division B doubles title at the Cornell Winter Invitational.

The team made five semifinal appearances in five separate flights at the event.

In addition, they defeated opponents from Army, the six-time defending Patriot League Champions, and Binghamton a combined nine times during the three-day event.

The performances of sophomore doubles duo Julia Keenan and Alex Landert, who took home the Division B title on Sunday, highlighted the tournament.

Keenan and Lambert defeated the Army team of Caroline Lorenzini and Hayley O’Connor 6-1 in the championship match.

“It is a good start to our season and really puts us on a high note,” Keenan said.

She described the experience as “pretty awesome; we work really well together and our games complement each other.”

Altogether, the tandem defeated three teams from Army and with those victories is now 4-1 as a team during the 2013-2014 campaign with two of the wins being decided by at least five games.

Head coach Greg Wyzykowski said that the two are “fantastic together” and added that he was very happy that they won.

The doubles team of sophomore Hannah Liljekvist and junior Madison Shoemaker also won two matches in the back-draw, culminating with a 6-1 win over the Army team of Gabby Spindler and Taler Brazell. They are now 8-4 for the year and have won four of their last five matches. Seniors Chloe Sher and Rocio Portela also recorded wins during the event in doubles.

It did not stop there as the Pirates also had success in singles matches on Friday and Saturday.

Keenan and Liljekvist showed their versatility by making a run in the singles competition to the final eight. To get there they had to make comebacks in their respective matches to advance.

Sher and Shoemaker each won two matches en route to semifinal appearances in Divisions A and B, respectively.

In her match against Army’s Della Taylor, Sher had to win an opening set tiebreak on her way to besting Taylor in straight sets, recording a 7-6 (3), 6-1 win.

Shoemaker only lost three games in her victory over Army’s Nan Porter, defeating her 6-2, 6-1 and recorded her 11th tournament match of the season.

“We did some good things, but we could have done more,” Wyzykowski said about the team’s singles play. “It was a long day and the event is exhausting physically and mentally, which can expose weaknesses.”

The Pirates are starting to make a name for themselves in tennis, and the team considers the invitational a stepping stone to bigger things to come.

One of Keenan’s goals for the team is to “win the Big East Championship,” which is a very lofty goal for herself and the team.

Wyzykowski said that he believes that winning the conference title is a great goal and that it is possible, but will not be easy.

The Pirates will travel to West Point, N.Y., to open up dual matches against familiar foe Army at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 1. That will be followed by a match-up against Binghamton, who the Pirates also played at Cornell, starting at 9 a.m. on Sunday.

Sean can be reached at sean.saintjacques@student.shu.edu.

Author: Sean Saint Jacques

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