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Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Brock Malone

No. 40 Women’s Tennis Receives At-Large Bid to First Ever NCAA Championship

Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics
          Release: 04/29/2014
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UPDATE: The doubles team of Bianca Sanon and Kanika Vaidya earned the Ivy League's automatic selection to the NCAA Division I women's tennis championship, as announced by the NCAA on Wednesday, April 30. 

NCAA Championships Selection Release

NEW YORK – A historic season continues for the No. 40 Columbia women’s tennis team, as the Lions earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships, as announced by the NCAA via a live selection show on its website Tuesday evening. Columbia will be making its first appearance ever at the NCAA Championship, heading to Charlottesville, Va. to take on No. 32 Kentucky.

No. 7 Virginia will serve as the host school and take on Youngstown State in the other first round matchup in Charlottesville. The winners of those two matches will then meet in the second round with a berth in the Round of 16 in Athens, Ga. on the line. First and second rounds at all 16 regional sites will be held from May 9-11.

Kentucky went 16-11 overall and 6-9 in the SEC during the regular season, falling in the second round of the SEC Tournament to Vanderbilt, 4-2.

The Lions rode an 11-match win streak to a 16-4 overall record during the spring dual season. From a February 28 match against Kansas State, to an Ivy League showdown against Brown on April 12, Columbia did not lose a single match, posting shutouts against Albany and Florida International. The final four matches of the win streak consisted of four 6-1 victories against Cornell, Harvard, Dartmouth and Brown.

Columbia rose as high as No. 27 in the nation this year, the best mark in program history.

A pair of nationally-ranked doubles tandems have buoyed the Lions’ success this spring. Senior Bianca Sanon and sophomore Kanika Vaidya have teamed up to earned the No. 22 ranking with a 14-3 record in dual matches and a 28-6 mark overall. Against ranked opponents since the fall, the duo is 6-6, while posting a 3-4 mark against top-25 foes.

Junior Crystal Leung and first-year Tina Jiang are riding a 16 match wins streak into the NCAA Championship as the Lions’ No. 2 tandem. A 15-0 mark in dual matches has earned the pair a No. 41 ranking in the latest ITA poll. Seniors Ioana Alecsiu and Tiana Takenaga have served as Columbia’s primary No. 3 doubles team, going 4-4 in dual matches. In total, Columbia went 36-8 in dual matches, and 13-2 against the Ivy League, this spring.

In singles action, the Lions posted 74-31 team record. Jiang led the charge with an unblemished 17-0 mark at the two and three slots. Sanon also split time at No. 2 and 3, while also playing twice as the top single player, playing to an 11-3 record.  Vaidya competed as the top seed for all but two dual matches, earning an 11-6 record. Leung, Takenaga and Alecsiu split time at the bottom of the singles ladder, winning 30 matches in the dual season.

The 64-team single-elimination NCAA Tournament begins at 16 different host sites with the first and second rounds held May 9-11. The winner of each host site advances to the Round of 16, to be played at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga., where Georgia hosts the remainder of the tournament May 15-26.

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