NEW YORK—A comeback attempt fell just short for the Columbia women’s tennis team as Maryland came away with a 4-3 decision Saturday afternoon at Dick Savitt Tennis Center. With the score tied at 3-3, Maryland’s Millie Stretton won a 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 match over Columbia junior Sarah Hu for the victory. That sealed the win for Maryland, but there were many positives for Columbia’s youthful squad.
Maryland claimed the doubles point after Eva Alexandrova and Millie Stretton defeated Adi Milstein and Christie Wan 7-5 at No. 1 doubles. Milstein and Wan were down 5-3, battled back to tie at 5-5 to make it close. Columbia junior Andrea Kevakian and first-year Jennifer Kerr evened the doubles score at 1-1 with a 6-4 win over Maryland’s Saya Usui and Arnelle Sullivan.
“We competed better in doubles today,” Columbia head coach Ilene Weintraub said. “We’re moving in the right direction but we’re not where we need to be to get the point. We’ve added a few more things and the players are buying into it, so hopefully we can keep building on that and get the doubles point next match.’
Columbia got off to a strong singles start as the Lions took early leads in the majority of matches. Maryland’s Alexandrova gave the Terrapins a 2-0 lead as she registered a 6-0, 6-2 win over Columbia first-year Christie Wan at No. 1 singles. Columbia answered when sophomore Ali Pollack made quick work of Anastaslia Gevel, winning a dominant 6-1, 6-2 match at No. 5 singles to put the Lions at a 2-1 deficit.
The final four matches were all very closely contested. Senior co-captain Adi Milstein tied the match up at 2-2 when she claimed a 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 come-from-behind win at No. 6 singles over Maryland’s Zoe Kulkarni.
First-year Jennifer Kerr gave Columbia its first lead of the day at 3-2 with a key 6-0, 2-6, 7-6 (8-6) victory over Maryland’s Ekterina Tour at No. 2 singles. In a long, drawn-out battle, Kerr was up big early, then battled back to tie and force a tiebreaker in which she tied it at 6-6, then won the last two points for the victory.
The Terrapins tied it at 3-3 when Katsiaryna Yemelyanenka defeated Kevakian 7-6, 3-6, 6-4 at No. 4 singles. Kevakian, who entered the match after having won 14 of her previous 15 matches, suffered all week with illness. That set the stage for Stretton’s win over Hu.
“Adi deserves a lot of credit for how she finished it and stepped up in the end,” Weintraub said. “She’s playing her best level of tennis in her senior year and has been very relaxed. Unfortunately for Andrea, who is so tough under pressure, she had a really rough week and was under the weather all week and she didn’t that much. The energy level was a challenge for her today. Christie’s opponent was really good today. It was a tough matchup for her. Jennifer played a roller coaster match today, she was up 5-2, had a few match points and it didn’t go her way, but kudos to her for pulling it out. She was able to be the more mentally tough player and came away with the match.”
Maryland was on a two-match road swing to play Princeton (Friday) and Columbia (Saturday).
Next up, Columbia travels to Miami, Fla. for their annual spring break trip. The Lions will take on Marquette (March 13), Florida International (March 15) and Florida Atlantic (March 16). The trip will be a Homecoming for Milstein, who is a Boca Raton native.
MARYLAND 4, COLUMBIA 3
Saturday, March 3, 2018, Dick Savitt Tennis Center, New York, N.Y.
No. 1: Eva Alexandrove (Maryland) defeated Christie Wan (Columbia) 6-0, 6-2.
No. 2: Jennifer Kerr (Columbia) defeated Ekterina Tour (Maryland) 6-0, 2-6, 7-6 (8-6).
No. 3: Millie Stretton (Maryland) defeated Sarah Hu (Columbia) 5-7, 6-2, 6-4.
No. 4: Katsiaryna Yemelyanenka (Maryland) defeated Andrea Kevakian (Columbia) 7-6, 3-6, 6-4.
No. 5: Ali Pollack (Columbia) vs. Anastaslia Gevel (Maryland) 6-1, 6-2.
No. 6: Adi Milstein (Columbia) defeated Zoe Kulkarni (Maryland) 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.
Final Score: Maryland 4, Columbia 3; Time of Match: 2:41. Order of Finish: Doubles- 2, 3, 1. Singles- 1, 5, 6, 2, 4, 3. Records: Columbia: 5-4; Maryland 4-5. Attendance: 95.