NEW YORK - The Columbia women's tennis team had an outstanding Ivy League opener Friday in the Dick Savitt Tennis Center, as the Lions nearly upended Dartmouth, but lost by the closest of margins, 4-3. Columbia won the doubles point to take an early lead, and four of the six singles matches went to three sets, but in the end, the Big Green came out on top.
In doubles, sophomore Katarina Kovacevic and first-year Ioana Alecsiu had a quick win to put Columbia up, as they won in the No.3 doubles spot, 8-2. Dartmouth had a win in the No.1 doubles spot, as Nicole Bartnik and Natasha Makarova fell 8-4. But first-years Bianca Sanon and Tiana Takenaga clinched the point in Columbia’s favor, as they had a win in the No.2 spot, 8-6.
Columbia had the early 1-0 lead and momentum heading into singles, but the Big Green squelched that right away, as Dartmouth won the first set on every court. Columbia was able to gain momentum back, however, as the Lions rallied to win the second set on four of the six courts, sending the matches into a third set.
Takenaga was the first to fall for the Lions, as she lost to Georgiana Smyser in the No.6 singles spot, 6-2, 6-0. With that loss, the team score was tied at 1-1. First-year Alecsiu was next. After dropping the first set to Sabrina Stewart, 6-1, Alecsiu battled back in the No.5 spot to win the second set, 6-4. But Stewart regained momentum in the third, and took it 6-1, making the team score 2-1, Dartmouth. Senior Natasha Makarova had a long, drawn out battle in the No.3 singles spot, but she was the next to fall, as she was beaten by Melissa Matsuoka, 7-6, 6-3. The team score was now Dartmouth 3, Columbia 1, and the Big Green needed just one more point to take the win.
It wouldn’t be easy for Dartmouth, however, as Columbia fought tooth and nail to stay in the match. First-year Bianca Sanon got the Lions back on the board in the No.2 singles spot, as she beat Sarah Leonard, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. And in the No.4 singles spot, sophomore Katarina Kovacevic was battling it out with Ryan Reichel, and was just two points away from tying the score up at 3 all. But while Kovacevic was fighting at deuce, Dartmouth clinched in the match in the No.1 singles spot. After a 6-0 loss in the first set, sophomore Nicole Bartnik had a huge rally to win the second set 7-5, and stay in the match. But in the end, Dartmouth’s Molly Scott took the win, 6-0, 5-7, 6-3. That win was the fourth for the Big Green, and assured the team win. Just moments later, Kovacevic pulled out the win, taking the match 6-7, 6-3, 6-4, and putting the final team score at 4-3.
With the loss, the Lions are now 9-7 on the season and start the Ivy League with a 0-1 record. Up next for Columbia is Ivy rival Harvard, who will take on the Lions in the Dick Savitt Tennis Center, Saturday, April 2 at 12 p.m.
Dartmouth 4, Columbia 3
1. Molly Scott/Melissa Matsuoka (DART) def. Nicole Bartnik/Natasha Makarova (COL) 8-4
2. Bianca Sanon/Tiana Takenaga (COL) def. Ryan Reichel/Georgiana Smyser (DART) 8-6
3. Katarina Kovacevic/Ioana Alecsiu (COL) def. Jeri Reichel/Christina Danosi (DART) 8-2
Order of finish: 3, 1, 2*
1. Molly Scott (DART) def. Nicole Bartnik (COL) 6-0, 5-7, 6-3
2. Bianca Sanon (COL) def. Sarah Leonard (DART) 2-6, 6-3, 6-4
3. Melissa Matsuoka (DART) def. Natasha Makarova (COL) 7-6, 6-3
4. Katarina Kovacevic (COL) def. Ryan Reichel (DART) 6-7, 6-3, 6-4
5. Sabrina Stewart (DART) def. Ioana Alecsiu (COL) 6-1, 4-6, 6-1
6. Georgiana Smyser (DART) def. Tiana Takenaga (COL) 6-2, 6-0
Order of finish: 6, 5, 3, 2, 1*, 4