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Flashback Friday: The Conception of Women’s Tennis

In 1972, a new emphasis on women’s sports developed in the country, and Ithaca was no exception. That fall, the women’s tennis team started officially competing under the leadership of head coach Gwen Ritchie. The squad’s first match came on the heels of a weekend celebration of the Women’s Olympics of Ithaca, which put an emphasis on female athletes in the local community to spur support for the school’s newly minted women’s programs. The weekend’s festivities set the stage for the tennis team’s inaugural match against Ithaca College.

The Monday night matchup on South Hill saw the Big Red handled their opponent with ease 6-1. The “netters,” as they were called, kicked off the program in style with its three biggest stars, Julie Barash, Karen Krinsky, and Wendy Zurn, all winning in straight sets. The doubles teams were equally successful and only dropped one match. Cornell’s trio of singles players would go on to have an incredible season, amassing a record of 16-1. Coach Ritchie, who was previously involved with the field hockey program, eventually experienced a successful six years with the program. During her tenure with the Big Red, Ritchie accumulated an overall record of 17-4.

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