NEW YORK – The Columbia men’s tennis team will head south, Saturday, May 12, to take part in the first round of the NCAA National Championship Tournament in Charlottesville, Va. The Lions, ranked #42 in the nation in the latest rankings, will take on #31 Virginia Commonwealth University, Saturday, May 12 at 9 a.m. The winner of that match will advance to the second round, taking on the winner of Virginia/Fairleigh Dickinson, Sunday, May 13 at 12 p.m.
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Last Time Out
Columbia finished the regular season with an 18-4 overall record, including a 5-2 Ivy League record, good for second in the conference overall. The Lions ended on a strong streak, defeating Princeton and Penn in the final weekend of the season, 6-1 and 7-0 respectively.
The league coaches recognized Columbia’s strong play throughout the Ancient Eight season, as four members of the squad were awarded postseason honors. First-year Winston Lin led the charge, as he was unanimously named Ivy League Rookie of the Year, and earned unanimous first-team All-Ivy League honors in singles as well. Senior co-captain Haig Schneiderman earned first-team All-Ivy League honors in singles as well, while first-years Max Schnur and Ashok Narayana were unanimous first-team All-Ivy League honorees in doubles.
At-Large and In Charge
The Lions made the NCAA Tournament by virtue of strong play all season long, through an at-large bid. Harvard, the outright Ivy League champions, got the league’s automatic bid, while the Lions were chosen based on their national ranking of #42.
It is only the second time in school history that men's tennis has been selected to play in the NCAA tournament without the help of the Ivy League's automatic bid. In 1998, Harvard won the Ivy League championship, and both Columbia and Princeton were also selected to participate in the postseason.
Scouting the Rams
Virginia Commonwealth (VCU) is no stranger to the NCAA Tournament. The Rams are making their 19th appearance in the postseason, in Head Coach Paul Kostin’s 22 year run with the Black and Gold. They’re no stranger to success in the tournament either, as they’ve advanced to the Sweet Sixteen seven times, and were in the team championship match as recently as 2000.
VCU ended the season on a strong note, as they won 10 straight matches to close out the year, including three in the CAA tournament, beating UNC-Wilmington 4-0 to claim the conference title. It was their 13th title in the past 17 years, and the Rams finish the season with a 22-4 overall record.
The Rams, who have beaten Cornell (4-1) and St. John’s (6-1) this season, have seem much success behind CAA Player of the Year, Alexis Heugas. The sophomore, who plays No.1 for VCU, is 15-6 in the top spot, and is currently ranked No.89 in the nation.
The winner of Saturday’s match will advance to the second round, taking on the winner of the match between #3 seed and ACC champions Virginia, and local rival and NEC champions Fairleigh Dickinson, Sunday, May 13 at 12 p.m.
Schedule of Play
FRIDAY, MAY 11
11 a.m. Tennessee (14-12) vs. VCU (20-4) [women's first round]
2 p.m.* Virginia (18-7) vs. Fairleigh Dickinson (16-7) [women's first round]
SATURDAY, MAY 12
9 a.m. VCU (22-4) vs. Columbia (18-4) [men's first round]
12 p.m.* Virginia (24-1) vs. Fairleigh Dickinson (15-8) [men's first round]
3 p.m.* Women's Second Round
SUNDAY, MAY 13
12 p.m. Men's Second Round
*match will not start before scheduled time