Tennis: Princeton to be tested in ECAC tournament this weekend
The eight-team tournament will include every Ivy League school except Penn and should provide the Tigers with a good idea of how this year’s squad will fare against stiff competition. The Tigers went 2-1 up in Michigan at the beginning of the month. Freshman Jonathan Carcione’s outstanding weekend was a pleasant surprise for the Tigers. The rookie went 3-0, clinching the team’s victory over No. 40 Michigan State and accounting for one of the two games the Tigers won against No. 20 Michigan.
Another bright spot for the Tigers is senior Matija Pecotic, who is currently the third-ranked singles player in the nation.
The Tigers are hoping that Pecotic’s senior year will resemble his sophomore year more than it will resemble 2012. Though the native of Malta has been a standout since he arrived at Princeton, earning All-Ivy honors three years running, the team has seen ups and downs in that time. After winning all but one Ivy contest in 2011, the Tigers went 3-4 in the league last year and were 12-12 overall.
“The difference between last year and this year is going to be our doubles,” sophomore Ben Quazzo said. “Last year we struggled a lot winning the doubles point, and this year we’re bringing in three really, really strong teams. Especially now that Matija’s playing No. 1. If we can get that point, it can really turn around the match, because to start off 1-0 going into the matches, it’s a lot better than going in 0-1.”
Pecotic and sophomore Zack McCourt are ranked 29th in the doubles list, but they are not the only ranked players who will take the court in Ithaca this weekend. Columbia (2-2) Ashok Narayana and Max Schnur are 20th in the country, and Yale also boasts a duo in the top 50.
They will have their work cut out for them, as Columbia, Harvard, Dartmouth and Brown are all ranked higher than Princeton’s place at 64th in the nation. “Harvard and Columbia are probably the top two teams on paper coming into the tournament,” Quazzo said. “They both have a couple of good wins against some top 50 opponents. We’re definitely looking forward to playing both of them.”
Princeton’s first match will be against Dartmouth, the sixth seed. The Big Green are 3-3 and have won two straight matches in convincing fashion, taking down Binghamton 8-1 then blanking Boston College 7-0 last weekend. If the Tigers advance past Dartmouth, they will likely face a dangerous Columbia team. The Lions, whose Winston Lin is ranked 60th in the nation, dominated Fordham 6-1 earlier this month.
Harvard appears to be the team to beat so far this year, coming into the tournament with the top seed and a 4-3 record. If they met Harvard, Pecotic and McCourt would likely face two All-Ivy players in Casey MacMaster and Denis Nguyen, Harvard’s top doubles team.
The women’s team was scheduled to play its ECAC tournament this past weekend, but the tournament was canceled due to the snowstorm. The Tigers will return from their unexpected break by hosting a pair of matches against Rutgers and Seton Hall this weekend.
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