NASHVILLE, TENN. - The No. 16 Columbia men's tennis team notched its first-ever win in the NCAA Tournament with a 4-0 victory over East Tennessee State University at Vanderbilt University Saturday afternoon.
"This is certainly an accomplishment if you look at the history of the program," Howard Endelman, associate head coach said. "But this is a team that has focused on one match at a time the entire year, and tried to do the little things right. While this is a milestone, winning one match in the NCAA Tournament has never been our goal. This does show that if the team puts their minds to it, and do the little things right every day, the sky is the limit."
The Lions won the doubles point with wins at No. 3 and No. 1 doubles. Winston Lin and Mike Vermeer defeated Sebastian Yllera and Connor Huertas 8-3 at No. 3 for the first win. Bert Vancura and Richard Pham were knotted up at 6-6 when No. 12 Ashok Narayana and Max Schnur defeated Diego Nunez and Ismael Merino 8-6, at No. 1 doubles to take the point.
Narayana and Schnur were down two breaks, 1-0, and 2-1, but came back to take a 6-3 lead. ETSU battled back, breaking twice, to tie it at 6-6 before Narayana and Schnur held and broke for the 8-6 win, and to clinch the doubles point.
"I thought we played pretty well today," Endelman said. "We did not play that well in the doubles. Winston (Lin) and Mike (Vermeer) played terrific at No. 3, the other two teams played ok, but we were fortunate to win the doubles point."
In singles, ETSU came out with a lot of energy, while the Lions started out slow, but built quickly. Dragos Ignat defeteated Sebastian Yllera 6-1, 6-1, cruising, in a match that lasted just over an hour.
Ignat finished just minutes before Narayana at No. 4, who defeated Ismael Merino, 6-1, 6-2, giving the Lions the 3-0 lead. The Lions were down sets at No. 1, 2 and 5, but each were battling in the second sets. Vermeer was up 2-0 in the first set at No. 6, then fell behind 3-2 before cruising to the 6-3 win in the first.
"I think it was tough to play outside. It was warm and a little windy too," Vermeer said. "My opponent (Ordeig) was not particularly offensive, so I had to change up my game, because my game is a little defensive, and step up my attack. I lost a little focus in the first set and went down 3-2, because I rushed and tried to end points fast, but that didn't work. I went back to my game and waited until I had the right shot to come to the net."
Vermeer went on to win the second set 6-2 to clinch the match for the Lions.
"I thought Dragos played a terrific match at three, which was really tough because he was recovering from an injury last week. He came out and played really well," Endelman said. "Narayana was all over his opponent from the beginning, and Mike Vermeer, is undefeated at No. 6, and he was his normal self for us to get those four points."
The Lions will play the winner of the Vanderbilt/Virginia Tech match tomorrow at 2 p.m. ET.
2014 NCAA Men's Tennis Championships
#16 Columbia 4, #68 East Tennessee State 0
East Tennessee State vs Columbia (May 10, 2014)
May 10, 2014 at Nashville, Tenn. (Currey Tennis Center)
|1. #17 Winston Lin (CU) vs. David Biosca (ETSU) 5-7, unfinished|
|2. Max Schnur (CU) vs. Diego Nunez (ETSU) 4-6, 5-5, unfinished|
|3. Dragos Ignat (CU) def. Sebastian Yllera (ETSU) 6-1, 6-1|
|4. Ashok Narayana (CU) def. Ismael Merino (ETSU) 6-1, 6-2|
|5. Bert Vancura (CU) vs. Connor Huertas (ETSU) 3-6, 3-4, unfinished|
|6. Mike Vermeer (CU) def. Roger Ordeig (ETSU) 6-3, 6-2|
|1. #12 Ashok Narayana/Max Schnur (CU) def. Diego Nunez/Ismael Merino (ETSU) 8-6|
|2. Bert Vancura/Richard Pham (CU) vs. David Biosca/Roger Ordeig (ETSU) 6-6, unfinished|
|3. Winston Lin/Mike Vermeer (CU) def. Sebastian Yllera/Connor Huertas (ETSU) 8-3|
|East Tennessee State 14-9; National ranking #68|
|Columbia 21-1; National ranking #16|
|Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (3,4,6)|
|NCAA Men's Tennis Tournament|
|Match delayed 45 minutes due to wet conditions|