Tennis’ Priyanka Shah Makes Cornell History, Earns All-Ivy in Singles and Doubles Play
By Caroline Kleiner
Sun Staff Writer
For the first time in Cornell women’s tennis’ 46-year history, senior captain Priyanka Shah became the first player to earn first team All-Ivy in both singles and doubles play.
“When I first learned I won All-Ivy in singles and doubles I was really happy and proud of myself,” Shah said. “But when I heard I was the first woman in Cornell women’s tennis history, I was in complete shock.”
Shah ended her Ivy season 3-4 in singles play. Two of those singles victories came in the last two conference matches against Yale and Brown.
“My most memorable singles match [this season] was against Brown,” Shah said. “It was my last match representing Cornell and I just thought, ‘I’m going to win this.’ I ended up winning and ending my career with a 6-1, 6-2 win over a great player.”
Shah and doubles partner Ananya Dua ended Ivy play with a 4-2 record, promoting both players to first-team All-Ivy in doubles.
“When I heard the news, I was ecstatic because it’s amazing to see how far we had come as a doubles team this season, and how our team chemistry powered us through the tough matches,” Dua said.
Shah recalled the pair’s triumph over a nationally ranked duo from Princeton as her season’s favorite moment.
“They’re nationally ranked, so they’re the biggest win we had all season,” Shah said. “It was great to get that momentum and energy so we really knew we were right in it with the big teams.”
Head coach Mike Stevens expressed nothing but pride for Shah’s recent successes.
“From the first day of her freshman year to the last match of her senior year, she just excelled in everything she did work ethic-wise,” coach Stevens said. “Our motto as a team is to get one percent better everyday and she did well beyond that.”
Earning All-Ivy honors is a decision made by all Ivy League coaches — and Shah was unanimously chosen to receive the honor for both singles and doubles.
“For All-Ivy, you have to excel in standards including sportsmanship, grit and record,” Shah said. “A lot of it comes down to how composed you are and how much you fight. A coach is going to appreciate that even if they’re not your coach.”
After serving as captain for the past two years — including leading the squad to an Ivy League title in 2017 — Shah’s graduation will leave a major hole in tennis’ roster next year.
“Replacing our seniors this year, both Madison [Stevens] and Priyanka is not something you look to do,” Coach Stevens said. “They’ve both been tremendous for this program for the last four years and irreplaceable in their own respect.”
“I’ve had the most amazing four years,” Shah said. “To compete and [earn All-Ivy honors] for myself and the school is an absolutely incredible feeling that still gives me goosebumps.”