NEW YORK – The No. 23 Columbia men's tennis team and No. 41 Purdue take the stage Friday at 10 a.m. in Charlottesville, Virginia during the first round of the NCAA Men's Tennis Tournament.
In the other Friday match, No. 2 Virginia battles Monmouth, with the winners of the two Friday matches meeting in a Saturday to advance to the Sweet 16 in Athens, Georgia.
|Conference||Ivy League||Big Ten|
|Conf. Finish||T-1st (6-1)||T-4th (7-4)|
|Ranking||No. 23||No. 41|
|Head Coach||Bid Goswami (35th Season)||Pawel Gajdzik (8th Season)|
In his eighth season as head coach at Purdue, Pawel Gajdzik has the Boilermakers back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2014, when No. 40 Purdue fell to No. 21 Clemson, 4-1.
This year, Gajdzik's squad finished strong, winning the final five matches of the regular season before a 4-1 victory over Nebraska in the Big Ten Tournament's opening round. In their most recent match on April 28, Purdue fell to No. 25 Illinois, 4-1.
In the final ITA rankings, the Boilermakers came in at No. 41. This year, the team is led by first team all-conference honoree Gergely Madarasz, who has split time between the top and second singles matches this year. The redshirt junior is the No. 97 player in the ITA, going 17-13 in singles play. With his doubles partner Ricky Medinilla, the pair are ranked No. 31, posting a 4-2 record this year with two unfinished matches.
The only shared match in the 2016-17 season between a Lion and a Boilermaker comes between Madarasz and Shawn Hadavi, back in October in the first round of the Oracle ITA Masters. After Madarasz won the first set, 7-5, Hadavi came back to win the second, 6-4, and the third, 6-3, to take the match. The victory for Hadavi was the first of four straight against ranked opponents, as he claimed runner-up status at that tournament.
Columbia visits Charlottesville for the second straight season, coming off the programs fourth consecutive Ivy League title.
The Lions went 17-4 this spring and 6-1 in Ancient Eight play, defeating Brown and Yale on the final weekend to earn the crown.
For their efforts this season, four Lions picked up All-Ivy League accolades, led by a pair of unanimous first team singles selections in senior Shawn Hadavi and sophomore Victor Pham, who were also first team doubles honorees. Senior Richard Pham was a first team all-conference doubles pick, while first-year Jackie Tang earned second team doubles honors.
A day after Columbia learned it would be playing in Charlottesville for the team NCAA Tournament, Victor Pham earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Singles Tournament, as the highest ranked player from the Ivy League. Pham compiled a 22-11 record throughout the year, and was unbeaten in seven of his final eight matches. The sophomore is ranked No. 58 currently in the ITA.
The awards kept coming in for the tennis program after the season, as Hadavi was named the Connie S. Maniatty Award winner at the Columbia Varsity C Awards Banquet. The honor goes to the most distinguished four-year athlete at Columbia, which the four-time Ivy League Champion proved to be. At the moment, Hadavi has assembled a 68-37 singles record, going 16-3 against the Ivy League. The Dobbs Ferry, New York, native was the 2016 Ivy League Player of the Year, and dropped only one conference match this year en route to a 28-11 overall record.