NEW YORK – Columbia women’s tennis athlete Nicole Bartnik had one of the biggest wins of her collegiate career today, as she defeated Yale’s Elizabeth Epstein, 6-4, 6-3, to claim the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s 2011 Northeast Regional title. With the win, the junior has earned an automatic bid to the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, where she will take on some of the best collegiate tennis players in the nation. 

Bartnik had a fairly easy road to the finals, as she lost only one set along the way, despite facing four seeded players. The No.3 seed, Bartnik had a first-round bye, before facing off against NJIT’s Nina Mayevska. Bartnik came out on top, 6-2, 6-4, advancing to face No.17 seed, Vivien Laszloffy from Boston University, whom she beat, 6-3, 6-1. Yale’s Blair Seideman was next, seeded No.11 in the tournament; Bartnik beat her, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, advancing to the semi finals. There, she took on Hanna Yu of Yale, beating her with ease, 6-1, 6-2.  In the finals, Bartnik was taking on yet another Bulldog, this time, No.6 seed Elizabeth Epstein. Bartnik beat her in just under an hour and a half, 6-4, 6-3. With the win, Bartnik becomes the first player in Columbia women’s tennis history to take the tournament title.

The Lions also had players in the singles and doubles draw. In singles, sophomore Ioana Alecsiu had a first round win over Maria Bernardez of Providence, 6-2, 6-3, before falling to No.1 seed Hilary Barlett of Princeton, 6-4, 6-3. First-year Crystal Leung also had a first round win, beating Princeton’s Monica Chow, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, before losing to Epstein, 6-1, 6-2.  Sophomore Bianca Sanon won one match as the No.15 seed, beating NJIT’s Monika Graf 6-4, 6-3 after a first-round bye. She then fell to No.17 Vanessa Petrini of Rutgers, 1-6, 7-6(4), 6-3. First-year Adel Arshavskaia beat Sacred heart’s Gabi Kaldaw, 6-0, 6-0 in the first round, before falling to No.12 seed Kristin Norton of Harvard, 6-2, 5-7 6-3. Renata Arshavskaia also had a first-round win, beating Alex Livingston from St. Peter’s, 6-4, 6-0, and then beating No.17 seed Amber Li of Yale, 6-3, 7-5. He first loss came at the hands of No.2 seed Anna Rapoport of Fairleigh Dickinson, who won 6-4, 2-6, 6-3. 

Bartnik teamed up with Leung in the doubles draw, winning one match. The pair beat a duo from Niagra, 8-1, before falling to a duo from Yale, 8-1. Sanon and Takenaga suffered an 8-5 first round loss to the No.5 seed from Boston College, while Renata Arshavskaia and Adel Arshavskaia lost to a duo from Boston University, 8-1. 

Up next for Bartnik and Columbia women’s tennis is the USTA/ITA tournament. Hosted by Columbia University, the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships features a 32-player singles draw and a 20-team doubles draw for men and women. Heading the field are champions from USTA/ITA Division I Regional Championships held across the country in October, winners of the USTA/ITA National Small College “Super Bowl,” and the singles quarterfinalists, doubles finalists and consolation champions from the ITA Men’s and Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championships. The championships will take place in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., Thursday, November 3 to Sunday, November 6.