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Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Amin Khalaf

#37 Menís Tennis Continues Ivy League Play at Yale, Brown, in Crucial Road Weekend

Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics
          Release: 04/13/2012
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NEW YORK – The Columbia men’s tennis team, who moved up in the national rankings to #37 this week, is set to continue tough Ivy League play this weekend, as the Lions will take on Yale and #64 Brown on the road. Columbia will head to New Haven, Conn., Saturday, April 14 for a 2 p.m. match against Yale, before heading to Providence, where they will face off with their third nationally ranked opponent in a week, #64 Brown. The Lions (16-2, 3-0 Ivy League) will be looking to remain undefeated in Ivy League play, and to extend a 12-match winning streak that dates back to February. 

Notable Nationally
The Lions have made waves on a national stage, with their 5-2 defeat of then-#20 Harvard. Columbia, who had been ranked #50 previously, leapt up in the ITA national rankings this week, to #37. Harvard, meanwhile, fell to #24.

In singles, senior Haig Schneiderman is still in the top 100 in the nation, as he stands at #96 individually. 

Last Time Out
Columbia is coming off one of the most exciting weekends in recent history. Saturday, April 6, the Lions beat then-#67 Dartmouth, 5-2, and followed that up with a huge win over then-#20 Harvard Saturday. 

Against the Crimson, the Lions dropped the doubles point early on, but rode fantastic home crowd energy to a 5-2 victory.  Columbia got wins from first-year Winton Lin at No.1, sophomore Tizian Bucher at No.6, first-year Ashok Narayana at No.4, first-year Bert Vancura at No.5, and junior Nathaniel Gery at No.3. 

Scouting the Bulldogs
The Yale men’s tennis team (12-7, 1-1 Ivy League) is currently unranked nationally, but in a three-way tie with Dartmouth and Harvard for third place in the league. The Bulldogs beat Penn in their Ivy League opener, 5-2, but dropped a close 4-3 match to Princeton the next day. 

Yale is dangerous on its home court, with a 5-1 record in New Haven. And the Bulldogs are strong in doubles. The No.1 doubles team of juniors Daniel Hoffman and Marc Powers is ranked #80 in the nation. They are 13-3 overall, and undefeated against unranked opponents. Powers is the top singles player for the Bulldogs, followed by Hoffman at No.2 and junior John Huang rounds out the top of the lineup for Yale. Hoffman is 2-0 in Ivy League play so far, and has won 11 of his last 12 matches, while Huang is the only Bulldog who hasn’t dropped a set in Ivy League play, winning his last seven matches, all in straight sets.  

The Bulldogs have two similar non-league opponents to Columbia, as they lost to St. John’s, 4-3, and beat Army 7-0 this season. In an abbreviated match at the ECAC tournament this February, Columbia beat Yale, 3-2. And the Lions had the most recent win in dual matches, as Columbia won at home in 2011, 4-3. And the 2010 match with the Bulldogs will come into play this weekend. Yale won that battle, 4-3 at home, and it proved to be the only blemish on Columbia’s way to an Ivy League championship title. The Bulldogs will be looking to play spoiler once again this weekend. 

Scouting the Bears
Brown is Columbia’s third nationally ranked opponent in four matches. The Bears (14-5, 0-2 Ivy League), who were ranked #54 in the nation last week, fell to #64 after a tough open to their Ivy League season. Brown lost to both Penn and Princeton, 4-3 on the road last weekend, and will be looking for its first conference win of the year against Cornell and Columbia this coming weekend. 
The Bears have wins over both St. John’s and Cornell at the ECAC tournament, and fell to Harvard in the finals there, 4-1. Brown will also present a challenge for the Lions in doubles, as the duo of Brandon Burke and Soufian Azargui is ranked #88 in the nation in doubles.

Last season, the Lions fell to Brown, 4-3 at home in April, and will be looking to avenge that loss Sunday.

Up Next
Columbia will continue its hunt for a title in a split weekend to wrap up the season. The Lions will host Princeton for Senior Day, Friday, April 20 at 2 p.m., before hitting the road to end the season at Penn, Sunday, April 22 at 2 p.m. 

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