ITHACA, N.Y. - The Columbia women's tennis team dropped another close match Wednesday, as the Lions were just points from beating Ivy League rival Cornell, but ended up losing, 4-3. Cornell took the doubles point, which proved to be the difference in the end.
Columbia jumped out to an early advantage in doubles, as the duo of sophomore Katarina Kovacevic and Ioana Alecsiu crushed their Cornell opponents, 8-3. With that win, the Lions had the chance to take the point, but Cornell notched 8-4 wins at Nos. 1 and 2 doubles to seal the win and take the doubles point. Heading into singles, Cornell was up, 1-0.
Each one of the singles matches were a battle, but victors began to emerge after about an hour of play. Cornell had a win first to go up 2-0, as Sinziana Chis beat Kovacevic at No.3, 6-3, 6-1. But first-year Alecsiu kept the Lions on the board when she won in the No.5 singles post, beating Ruxandra Dumitrscu, 6-2, 6-1. The Lions tied the score up at 2-2 when senior Natasha Makarova had a resounding win in the No.4 spot, beating Kelly Comolli, 6-1, 6-0.
Cornell would go up on the Lions again, 3-2, when first-year Bianca Sanon lost at No.2. She fell to Ryann Young, 6-3, 6-3. But sophomore Nicole Bartnik would even the team score up once again, as she fought back in the second set to force a tiebreaker. There, she would down Christine Ordway, 6-3, 7-6, in a crucial point that kept Columbia in the game.
Similarly to the ECAC matchup earlier in the season, the team victory came down to the battle between first-year Tiana Takenaga and Cornell’s Sarah O’Neill. In February, Takenaga had the better end of the deal, as she rallied to win in three sets and hand Columbia the win, its first over Cornell under head coach Ilene Weintraub. This time out, it was just as much of a struggle. The duo battled an incredible first set that was still going when four of the other singles matches were completed. Despite leading for much of the first set, Takenaga dropped it in a tiebreaker, which proved to be a crushing blow to her momentum. The first-year was down 3-0 when Bartnik tied it up, and knowing the team win came down to her, rallied to stay in it, 4-1. But O’Neill’s momentum proved to be too much for Takenaga to overcome, and O’Neill took the win, 7-6, 6-1. With that win at No.6, Cornell clinched the 4-3 team win, dealing Columbia its third Ivy League loss of the season.
The Lions are now 9-9 overall, and 0-3 in the Ivy League, heading into another tough Ivy League weekend. Columbia will head to New Haven and Providence, to take on Yale and Brown, Saturday, April 9 and Sunday, April 10, with both matches starting at 12 p.m.
Cornell 4, Columbia 3
1. Kelly Comolli/Shannon Comolli (COR) def. Nicole Bartnik/Natasha Makarova (COL) 8-4
2. Christine Ordway/Ryann Young (COR) def. Bianca Sanon/Tiana Takenaga (COL) 8-4
3. Katarina Kovacevic/Ioana Alecsiu (COL) def. Sinziana Chis/Ruxandra Dumitrscu (COR) 8-3
Order of finish: 3, 1, 2*
1. Nicole Bartnik (COL) def. Christine Ordway (COR) 6-3, 7-6
2. Ryann Young (COR) def. Bianca Sanon (COL) 6-3, 6-3
3. Sinziana Chis (COR) def. Katarina Kovacevic (COL) 6-3, 6-1
4. Natasha Makarova (COL) def. Kelly Comolli (COR) 6-1, 6-0
5. Ioana Alecsiu (COL) def. Ruxandra Dumitrscu (COR) 6-2, 6-1
6. Sarah O'Neil (COR) def. Tiana Takenaga (COL) 7-6, 6-1
Order of finish: 3, 5, 4, 2, 1, 6*