ITA National Team Indoor Championship | Feb. 16-19 | University of Washington

NEW YORK - The first round of the ITA National Team Indoor Championship begins Friday, as the Columbia men’s tennis team battles Georgia from the Nordstrom Tennis Center in Seattle. 

The match between the two squads gets under way at 6:30 p.m. EST on Friday, with live scoring and video available

The University of Washington is playing host to 15 other schools at the event, earning the Huskies an automatic berth into the tournament. Columbia qualified after a pair of wins during ITA Kick-Off Weekend over Ole Miss and Texas Tech, and picked up the No. 13 seed in the process. The No. 4 seeded Georgia Bulldogs topped Iowa and Memphis to earn a spot in Seattle, and currently sit at 4-0 this season.

TOURNAMENT SET-UP
Wake Forest picked up the top seed at the National Team Indoor Championship, as the Demon Deacons enter the tournament as the No. 1 team in the ITA poll, and No. 3 in the USTA College Tennis Top-25. Wake takes on the No. 16 seed and host Washington (6-1) on the same side of the bracket as the Bulldogs and Lions.

The tournament runs Friday through Monday, with the champion being crowned on the final day, and one round taking place on each day. Matches will be split between the Nordstrom Tennis Center on campus at Washington, and the Seattle Tennis Club.

THE LAST TIME
Columbia and Georgia met on the first day of the MLK Invitational back on Jan. 13 in Atlanta. No team scores were recorded during the event, however the Lions came away with seven of 10 singles victories against the Bulldogs. Jackie Tang topped No. 33 Walker Duncan in straight sets, propelling the sophomore to the singles title during the three-day tournament, while Victor Pham defeated a ranked opponent in No. 25 Emil Reinberg, William Matheson took down No. 30 Jan Zielinski, and Jack Lin defeated No. 66 Nathan Ponwith.

The Lions are seeking their first-ever victory over the Bulldogs, who own a 7-0 record in the series history. The last time the two teams met was on Feb. 13, 2016 at the same tournament, as Georgia escaped with a 4-3 victory. Pham and Timothy Wang, who were in the midst of their freshmen seasons, both dropped singles points in that match, and will seek vengeance this time around.  

ABOUT THE LIONS
Columbia (5-0) enters the weekend as the only team outside the Power-5 Conferences to have picked up a bid to the tournament. The Lions are ranked No. 11 in the USTA College Tennis Top-25, and were tied with Mississippi State for the No. 14 spot in the latest ITA rankings.

In the first singles rankings of the spring, Pham found himself at No. 15, while Tang, who missed a match after playing for Hong Kong in the Davis Cup, was ranked No. 49. Joining them in the rankings was Matheson at No. 83, thanks in part to his victory over Georgia’s Reinberg. On the doubles side, Pham and Tang were the No. 7 ranked pair, ahead in the poll of teammates Matheson and Lin, who were No. 28.

Most recently, the Lions earned their second win of the spring against Ole Miss, who traveled to the Dick Savitt Tennis Center as the No. 21 ranked team in the country. After the Lions won a tightly-contested doubles point, Pham cruised to a 6-3, 6-4 victory over No. 20 Gustav Hansson to improve to 7-1, while Tang and Wang also picked up straight-set victories to contribute to the 4-1 team win.  

ABOUT THE BULLDOGS
Georgia (4-0) held down the No. 4 ranking in both the USTA and ITA polls, having won its fifth consecutive SEC title in 2017, and returning all five All-SEC honorees from that season, as well as a pair of All-Americans in Robert Loeb and Jan Zielinski. 

The Bulldogs boast five players in the ITA singles rankings, which include No. 14 Walker Duncan, No. 17 Wayne Montgomery, No. 26 Zielinski, No. 31 Emil Reinberg, and No. 45 Nathan Ponwith. The five ranked players for Georgia combined to go 0-5 when they faced Columbia during the MLK Invitational at Georgia Tech. In addition to the singles rankings, Loeb and Zielinski hold down the No. 8 spot in the doubles rankings. 

So far this spring in dual matches, Georgia has surrendered just two points while maintaining a 4-0 record. Reinberg dropped a singles match in a 4-1 Bulldog win over No. 36 Memphis which propelled Georgia to the ITA Team National Championship, while FAU came away with the doubles point during a 6-1 Georgia victory on Feb. 8. 

FOLLOW ALONG
Live scoring is available for all rounds of the #ITAIndoors, while live streaming is available for the matches at the Nordstrom Tennis Center - where the Lions play on Friday.