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Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Gene Boyars

No. 18 Menís Tennis to Face No. 65 East Tennessee State in First Round of NCAA Championship

Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics
          Release: 04/29/2014
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UPDATE: On Wednesday, April 30, the NCAA announced the selections for the singles and doubles NCAA Division I Championships. Winston Lin earned the Ivy League's automatic bid in singles, while Ashok Narayana and Max Schnur have earned the conference's automatic bid in doubles.

NCAA Singles and Doubles Selections

NEW YORK – Gathered together in the Dodge Physical Fitness Center, the 18th-ranked men’s tennis team learned its automatic bid as the Ivy League Champions earned them a trip to Nashville, Tenn. to take on No. 65 East Tennessee State in the first round of the NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championship.

Columbia earned the 16th seed for the tournament and will be joined in the regional by host No. 20 Vanderbilt and No. 40 Virginia Tech.  The winners of those first two matches will face off in the second round, with the winner advancing to the Round of 16 in Athens, Ga. the following weekend. The first and second rounds of all 16 regional events will take place from May 9-11.

ETSU won the Atlantic Sun Conference, going 7-0 in the regular season before knocking off Stetson and North Florida by 4-0 scores in the conference tournament. They enter the NCAA Championship with a 14-8 overall record with wins over three ranked opponents this season.

Columbia will be making its ninth appearance in the NCAA Championship and first since 2012.

The Lions have had one of the best seasons in program history, rising as high as No. 17 in the nation, matching the program record set back in 1987. Columbia is an astounding 20-1 this season, having won their last 18 matches.

Columbia cruised through the Ivy League portion of the schedule, dropping just one match en route to a 7-0 mark and its 11th Ivy League title. Against ranked opponents this season, the Lions recorded 10 wins and just one defeat at the hands of then-No. 3 Georgia by a score of 4-2 at the ITA Kick-off Classic in Athens, Ga. in January.

Georgia and its Dan Magill Tennis Complex will serve as the host site for the Round of 16 through the title match from May 15-26. The 64-team tournament begins with 16 regional sites featuring four teams. The winner of each of those regional events will head to Athens for the remainder of the NCAA Championship.

A trio of juniors have made their mark on the national stage for the Lions this season. On the singles side, Winston Lin is in the midst of a 19-match win streak as the Lions top player. In dual matches he earned a 15-0 record and is ranked No. 18 in the nation. During the fall season, Lin shined with strong performances at three top tournaments. The Williamsville, N.Y., native reached the Round of 16 at the ITA All-American Championships and the quarterfinals of the UTSA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships. His top showing though, came at the USTA/ITA Northeast Regional Championship were he downed Harvard’s Denis Nguyen for the title.

Classmates Ashok Narayana and Max Schnur have been equally as impressive in doubles action. The 11th-ranked tandem capped a brilliant fall by winning the doubles title at the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, defeating the then-No. 2 ranked team in the nation in Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese from Tennessee. In dual matches this spring, the duo went 11-2 overall, while posting a 4-2 mark against ranked opponents.

Lin was not the lone Columbia student-athlete to go undefeated during the dual season. Sophomore Mike Vermeer is a perfect 16-0, playing primarily as the No. 6, but also seeing time at No. 2 and 5. Columbia’s 87-14 singles mark as a team this spring is highlighted by its 27-1 record against the Ancient Eight. Vermeer and Lin teamed up this spring for a team-best 13 wins at the No. 2 slot on the doubles side. 

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