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Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Gene Boyars

No. 32 Kentucky Up First for No. 38 Women’s Tennis at NCAA Regional

Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics
          Release: 05/07/2014
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NEW YORK – The 38th-ranked Columbia women’s tennis team is set to make its first NCAA Regional appearance this weekend, facing No. 32 Kentucky in the opening match of the Virginia Regional on Friday, May 9 at 10 a.m. Virginia is providing live stats of all matches at the Snyder Tennis Center via the link above. 

The second match of the Virginia Regional will feature the host Cavaliers against Youngstown State. The winner of Friday’s matches will face-off on Saturday, May 10 at 3 p.m., with a trip to the Round of 16 on the line.

2014 NCAA TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIP - CHARLOTTESVILLE REGIONAL
FRIDAY, MAY 9

10 a.m. - Kentucky (16-11) vs. Columbia (16-4)
1 p.m. - Virginia (21-5) vs. Youngstown State (14-11)

SATURDAY, MAY 10
3 p.m. - Women's Second Round

SCOUTING NO. 38 COLUMBIA
Columbia earned an at-large selection to the NCAA Tournament after going 16-4, while rising as high as No. 27 in the nation midway through the year. An 11- match win streak from February 28 against Kansas State to an Ivy League showdown against Brown on April 12, highlighted a strong dual season for the Lions. The final matches of the win streak consisted of four 6-1 victories against Cornell, Harvard, Dartmouth and Brown.

A pair of nationally-ranked doubles tandems have buoyed the Lions’ success this spring. Senior Bianca Sanon and sophomore Kanika Vaidya have teamed up to earn the No. 22 ranking with a 14-3 record in dual matches and a 28-6 mark overall. Against ranked opponents since the fall, the duo is 6-6, while posting a 3-4 mark against top-25 foes.

Junior Crystal Leung and first-year Tina Jiang are riding a 16 match wins streak into the NCAA Championship as the Lions’ No. 2 tandem. A 15-0 mark in dual matches has earned the pair a No. 44 ranking in the latest ITA poll. Seniors Ioana Alecsiu and Tiana Takenaga have served as Columbia’s primary No. 3 doubles team, going 4-4 in dual matches. In total, Columbia went 36-8 in dual matches, and 13-2 against the Ivy League, this spring.

In singles action, the Lions posted a 74-31 team record. Jiang led the charge with an unblemished 17-0 mark at the two and three slots. Sanon also split time at No. 2 and 3, while also playing twice as the top singles player, compiling an 11-3 record.  Vaidya competed as the top seed for all but two dual matches, earning an 11-6 record. Leung, Takenaga and Alecsiu split time at the bottom of the singles ladder, winning 30 matches in the dual season.

SCOUTING NO. 32 KENTUCKY
Kentucky went 16-11 overall and 6-9 in the SEC during the regular season, falling in the second round of the SEC Tournament to Vanderbilt, 4-2. The Wildcats are making their 21st postseason appearance and first since 2009 when they reached the second round of the NCAA Championships.

The Wildcats struggled over the last 10 matches of the season, posting a 2-8 record against a rigorous SEC slate. Both wins came over Auburn, including a first round 4-2 win in the SEC Tournament.

Two Kentucky student-athletes are ranked in the May 1 ITA singles poll. Nadia Ravita enters the NCAA Regional ranked 47th with a 10-7 overall record and a 3-7 mark against ranked opponents. Kentucky’s primary No. 2, Aldila Sutjiadi, played to a 14-8 record this season, going 4-4 in matches against ranked foes.

Similar to Columbia, the Wildcats have a pair of doubles teams ranked in the latest ITA poll. Caitlin McGraw and CeCe Witten posted a 12-8 record as Kentucky’s top duo, earning them the No. 34 ranking in the latest ITA poll. Against ranked doubles teams, McGraw and Witten went 5-7 with their best win coming against No. 26 Dominika Kanakova and Elixane Lechemia from No. 30 South Carolina. Ravita and Sutjiadi comprise Kentucky’s No. 2 tandem, going 11-5 in the dual season to earn the No. 56 ranking.

SCOUTING NO. 4 VIRGINIA
The Cavaliers are making their sixth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament and are hosting for the fifth straight season. Virginia, which won a program-record 21 matches and its first ACC Championship this year, is the overall No. 3 seed in the tournament.

Virginia is led by a core of four young players ranked in the top-76 of the May 1 ITA singles poll led by No. 4 Julia Elbaba. The sophomore went 17-3 in dual matches at the top spot and has a 29-5 overall record this year. Classmate Danielle Collins is ranked 32nd with a 17-5 dual match record, splitting time at No. 1 and 2. Fellow sophomore Stephanie Nauta is ranked No. 53 with a team-best 20 wins during the dual season, while first-year Rachel Pierson is sloted No. 76 with a 15-9 dual record.

Elbaba and Pierson have teamed up to create the nation’s seventh-ranked doubles pair, posting a 27-10 record overall and an 8-8 mark as the No. 1 team during dual match.

SCOUTING YOUNGSTOWN STATE
Columbia is not the only team making its NCAA Tournament debut, as Youngstown State is competing on the national stage for the first time. The Penguins are 14-11 overall after winning its final six matches of the season, including three in the Horizon League Championships to earn the conference’s automatic bid.

Margarita Sadovnikova is 17-8 as Youngstown’s top singles player, winning nine of her last 10 matches. Marta Burak went 20-5 at No. 2 and enters Friday’s match against Virginia on a 13 match win streak. In doubles, Sadovnikova and Burak went 11-6 in dual action as the Penguins’ top duo, including a 5-0 record against Horizon League opponents.

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