NEW YORK – The Columbia women’s tennis team had a big win in Williamsburg, Va. Friday, as the Lions rallied back from losing the doubles point to beat host William & Mary, 4-3. Columbia had four strong wins in singles, including two that went to a third set. 

Doubles was close, setting the tone for the rest of the match. William & Mary had the first point, as Anik Cepeda and Marlin Mesgarzadeh beat Katarina Kovacevic and Crystal Leung in the No.3 spot, 8-4. The Lions answered with a win at No.2, where Nicole Bartnik and Iani Alecsiu beat Hope Johnson and Katie Kargl, 8-5. The point came down to the No.1 spot, where sophomores Bianca Sanon and Tiana Takenaga were battling it out with the #39 nationally ranked doubles tandem of Maria Belaya and Jeltie Lomans. Columbia rallied to tie the match at 7-7 after being down a break, but the Tribe pair won the final two games, taking the win 9-7, and giving William & Mary an early 1-0 lead. 

The battle continued into the singles matches, as the two teams fought each other and the heat of the Virginia sun. William & Mary opened with a win to increase the lead to 2-0, as Loomans beat Sanon in the No.2 spot, 6-1, 6-4. Takenaga was the first to get Columbia on the board, as she had a win over Sydney Smith in the No.6 spot, beating her 7-5, 6-1. 

The Tribe came close to clinching the match win a win in the No.4 singles spot, where Cepeda beat Leung, 6-4, 6-3. William & Mary held a 3-1 lead, and any other singles win would have meant a victory for the Tribe, sending the Lions home with a loss. But facing team defeat, three members of the Columbia squad rallied to help their team. Junior Nicole Bartnik led the charge in the No.1 spot, as she beat Belaya, who is ranked #109 in the nation, 6-4, 7-6(2). 

Sophomore Iani Alecsiu was able to tie it up in the No.3 singles spot, as she came back from losing the second set to beat Johnson, 6-2, 1-6, 6-2. And junior Katarina Kovacevic clinched the team win in the No.5 spot, where she was taking on Kargl. Kargl took the first set, 6-2, but Kovacevic was able to rally back in the second and third sets to assure Columbia a win, as she triumphed, 2-6, 7-5, 6-3. Her win gave Columbia the clinching point, giving the Lions the 4-3 win.

With the victory, the Lions are now 8-3 on the season. Up next for Columbia is a match against another Virginia squad, Old Dominion, Saturday, March 24 at 11 a.m.

Columbia 4, William and Mary 3

No. 1 - #39 Belaya/Loomans (W&M) def. Sanon/Takenaga (Columbia) - 9-7
No. 2 - Bartnik/Alecsiu (Columbia) def. Kargl/Johnson (W&M) - 8-5
No. 3 - Cepeda/Marlen Mesgarzadeh (W&M) def. Kovacevic/Leung (Columbia) - 8-4

Finishing Order: 3, 2, 1*

No. 1 - Nicole Bartnik (Columbia) def. #109 Maria Belaya (W&M) - 6-4, 7-6 (2)
No. 2 - Jeltje Loomans (W&M) def. Bianca Sanon (Columbia) - 6-1, 6-4
No. 3 - Iani Alecsiu (Columbia) def. Hope Johnson (W&M) - 6-2, 1-6, 6-2
No. 4 - Anik Cepeda (W&M) def. Crystal Leung (Columbia) - 6-4, 6-3
No. 5 - Katarina Kovacevic (Columbia) def. Katie Kargl (W&M) - 2-6, 7-5, 6-3
No. 6 - Tiana Takenaga (Columbia) def. Sydney Smith (W&M) - 7-5, 6-1
Finishing Order: 2, 6, 4, 1, 3, 5*