NEW YORK - The No. 44 Columbia men's tennis team will make its first road trip of the 2013 campaign, heading to the campus of Ole Miss to compete as part of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend. The No. 13 Rebels will also host No. 41 North Carolina State and No. 36 Louisville for the two-day event that commences Friday, Jan. 25 at 9 a.m. and runs through Saturday, Jan. 26.
Oxford, Miss. will serve as one of 15 hosts sites for the fifth annual ITA Kick-Off Weekend. Up for grabs at each of the sites is a spot at the ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship, which will be hosted next month by the University of Washington.
The Oxford event begins with Louisville taking on NC State on Friday at 9 a.m., with Ole Miss going up against Columbia a 2 p.m. The winners of those two matches will meet Saturday at 1 p.m. with the victor earning right to compete in Seattle next month. A consolation match will be held Saturday morning at 8 a.m. between the losers of the first two matches.
Columbia opened the season at home Monday, Jan. 21, hosting No. 58 BYU. Despite the Lions winning the doubles point, the Cougars took four of the singles matches to earn the 4-3 win at the Dick Savitt Tennis Center. Ashok Narayana and Dragos Ignat each picked up two wins for Columbia against BYU. Narayana and Max Schnur, the No. 17 ranked doubles team in the nation, won the No. 1 doubles match and then Narayana captured the No. 2 match in three sets. Ignat and doubles partner Eric Rubin won the No. 3 doubles match, 8-0, before Ignat went on to defeat Keaton Cullimore in the No. 3 singles match.
Scouting Ole Miss
Considered the favorite in this bracket, the Rebels boast a pair of top-35 players in No. 5 Jonas Lutjen and No. 33 Nik Scholtz. Lutjen racked up 14 wins during the fall season and won the consolation singles title at the ITA All-American Championship. Scholtz notched eight wins in the fall and won the USTA/ITA Southern Region singles title.
Friday's match against Columbia will be the first doubles match of the season for Ole Miss after competing in the National Collegiate Tennis Classic Jan. 18-20 in Palm Springs, Calif.
The Cardinals began 2013 with three home wins over Nebraska, Morehead State and Murray State. Most recently, Louisville fell on the road to No. 37 Northwestern, 4-1, on Jan. 20.
Albert Wagner has a 3-0 dual record in the No. 1 spot through the early stages of the season and is 12-6 dating back to the fall. Chris Simich has split time in the No. 2 and 3 positions, playing to a 3-1 dual mark.
Scouting NC State
The Wolfpack opened the year with back-to-back 4-3 victories over Penn State and No. 23 Indiana. Thomas Weigel and Simon Norenius are both 2-0 in duals at the No. 4 and 6 positions, respectively.