NEW YORK – The #50 nationally-ranked Columbia men’s tennis team defeated #67 Dartmouth soundly in the Dick Savitt Tennis Center Saturday, by a score of 5-2. The Lions handed Dartmouth only their second loss of the season, and improved to 15-2 overall, 2-0 in the Ivy League.

A raucous crowd welcomed the two teams in the bubble at Baker Athletics Complex, setting the tone early on for an intense match. Columbia drew first blood in doubles, as senior Haig Schneiderman and first-year Winston Lin won easily in the No.3 spot, beating Mike Jacobs and Cameron Ghorbani, 8-3. But the Big Green struck back right away, as Xander Centenari and Brandon DeBot downed Nathaniel Gery and John Yetimoglu at No.2, 8-6. The doubles point came down to the No.1 spot, where first-years Ashok Narayana and Max Schnur were taking on Michael Laser and Alex de Chatellus. The young Lions gained momentum early on with a break, and continue to roll from there, beating the Big Green, 8-4, and giving Columbia an early 1-0 lead. 

The Lions used the momentum to propel them into singles, as Columbia got two quick wins from young players. First-year Winston Lin had a fast win in the No.2 singles spot, where he defeated Centenari, 6-1, ¬3. And first-year Ashok Narayana had a great come-from-behind win in the No.4 spot. Narayana was down for most of the first set, until at 4-3, he rallied to break Chris Kipouras, and won three straight games to take the set, 6-4. From there, it was all downhill, as he won the second set with ease, 6-1. Narayana’s win at No.4 put Columbia in clinching position, 3-0, but it would be a battle to determine who would win it for the Lions. 
Senior Haig Schneiderman and junior Nathaniel Gery had both won their first sets, and were serving in the game that would clinch it when Narayana won. And Gery was able to close out his match faster, beating Ghorbani, 6-4, 6-4, to earn the team’s fourth point and assure the win. Schneiderman finished his match against Laser just minutes later, beating the Big Green’s top player, 6-2, 6-4. 

With the team match clinched, 5-0 in Columbia’s favor, sophomore Tizian Bucher retired in the No.6 spot due to injury, giving Dartmouth’s Chris Ho the win, 6-4, 3-4, ret. And Dartmouth got one final point in the No.5 singles spot, despite a strong attempt to derail by Columbia first-year Bert Vancura. Vancura had one of the most impressive sets of the day in his first, as he was down 5-2 to DeBot, and rallied to take the set, 7-5, winning five straight games. DeBot answered with a 6-3 win in the second set, and the two proceeded to a tiebreaker in lieu of a third set. There, Vancura fell in a close fight, 13-11, to bring the final team score to 5-2, Columbia. 

The Lions’ win sets up a showdown on Easter Sunday at the Dick Savitt Tennis Center. Harvard comes to the bubble with a 17-1 record, including 1-0 in the Ivy League after a 7-0 crushing of Cornell Saturday. The Crimson are ranked #20 in the nation, and Sunday’s match will determine who’s favored to take the Ivy League title this season. First serve for Columbia vs. Harvard is scheduled for 2 p.m., Sunday, April 8.

Tennis Match Results
Dartmouth vs Columbia University
Apr 07, 2012 at Dick Savitt Tennis Center (New York, NY)

#50 Columbia University 5, #67 Dartmouth 2

1. Ashok Narayana/Max Schnur (COL) def. Michael Laser/Alex de Chatellus (DART) 8-4
2. Xander Centenari/Brandon DeBot (DART) def. Nathaniel Gery/John Yetimoglu (COL) 8-6
3. Haig Schneiderman/Winston Lin (COL) def. Mike Jacobs/Cameron Ghorbani (DART) 8-3

Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1*

1. #86 Haig Schneiderman (COL) def. Michael Laser (DART) 6-2, 6-4
2. #102 Winston Lin (COL) def. Xander Centenari (DART) 6-1, 6-3
3. Nathaniel Gery (COL) def. Cameron Ghorbani (DART) 6-4, 6-4
4. Ashok Narayana (COL) def. Chris Kipouras (DART) 6-4, 6-1
5. Brandon DeBot (DART) def. Bert Vancura (COL) 5-7, 6-3, 1-0 (13-11)
6. Chris Ho (DART) def. Tizian Bucher (COL) 6-4, 3-4, retired

Order of Finish: 2, 4, 3*, 1, 6, 5

Match Notes:
Dartmouth 14-1, 0-1 Ivy; National ranking #67
Columbia University 15-2, 2-0 Ivy; National ranking #50