Syracuse looks to exploit youthful Cornell team, rely on own experience

first_img Published on January 29, 2015 at 12:03 am Facebook Twitter Google+ Cornell head coach Mike Stevens didn’t have a definite answer when asked which of his freshmen he would pit against Syracuse in Saturday’s match.One name that did come up, though, was first-year player Lizzie Stewart. But despite Stewart being a go-to option as a freshman for Cornell, there are five other first-year players that don’t boast nearly as much experience as the Orange does.When Cornell (0-2) visits Drumlins Tennis Center in Syracuse’s first home match of the year Saturday at noon, it will bring the largest freshman class of any team the Orange (3-1) will face this season. While Cornell faces the process of developing its young lineup, Syracuse will attempt to capitalize on its seniority to overcome the Big Red.The Orange’s lineup is comprised mostly of returning players, with the exception of freshman Nicole Mitchell. Syracuse also boasts three seniors, while Cornell has none.“We’ve had a strong start and a lot of that does go into experience because we carry over momentum from the past matches and the past seasons,” Syracuse senior Komal Safdar said.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe momentum that has clicked for the Orange has been difficult for Cornell to produce, with the Big Red falling to both Mississippi State and Brown in its first two matches. Often, simply having a year’s experience of college tennis can improve one’s game tremendously, Syracuse senior Breanna Bachini said.“Throughout my time here, especially since I was a freshman, you grow, you change, you learn new things,” Bachini said. “When you’re a freshman getting here, you’re just figuring everything out.”That transition, and how Cornell’s freshmen handle it on Saturday, may be a key factor in whether Syracuse’s experience gives it an edge over the Big Red.Cornell’s youth won’t be a huge factor but that the Orange can still exploit the Big Red’s lack of experience, said SU senior Amanda Rodgers, who’s a contributing writer for The Daily Orange. While Cornell might be the younger team on the court, Stewart still poses a threat to Syracuse.She won her singles matchup 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, in the 3-2 loss to Brown and so far has compiled a 1-1 record in both singles and doubles events through the first two matches of the season.“Some (freshmen) have that talent level and will make that transition (to college) smoothly,” Stevens said. “Elizabeth is one of them. I don’t care about who she goes up against, she’ll battle and do her best to fight and get a good win for us.”And with Cornell’s lack of experience compared to SU’s, Stewart may have to do just that despite SU head coach Younes Limam not looking too much into the freshman’s prominence for CU.“It depends how you look at it,” Limam said. “Sometimes the freshmen, they come in without expectations and they just swing free, and don’t really feel the nerves or the pressure. We’ll see how Cornell is going to be on Saturday, but we just have to focus on ourselves and focus on the things we do well.” Commentslast_img

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