NEW YORK – The Columbia men’s tennis team seeks its fifth consecutive Ivy League title this weekend at No. 45 Cornell, as the No. 16 ranked Lions take on the Big Red at 1:00 p.m. at Saturday.
Columbia (16-4, 5-1) is looking for its sixth conference win of the season, which would make the Lions co-champions of the Ivy League with Dartmouth, who wrapped up its season last weekend when defeats of Penn and Princeton helped the Big Green move to 20-5 (6-1). After a 4-3 win at Columbia, Dartmouth will earn the Ivy League’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament regardless of the Lions outcome at the Big Red, however Columbia is still in line to host an NCAA first round match as the No. 16 ranked team in the country.
ABOUT THE LIONS
Last weekend, the Lions earned a pair of dominating 4-0 triumphs at Brown and Yale, headlined by doubles point wins, and strength throughout the singles lineup. In both victories, all six singles matches had a first set win from Columbia, as Adam Ambrozy and Austen Huang earned two points for the Lions with a pair of singles victories.
In the latest ITA rankings, Victor Pham, who returned from injury on April 14 after three matches off, was slotted as the No. 23 ranked player, while Jackie Tang came in at No. 53. Although Pham and Tang have not played doubles together since March 16, the strong 2017-18 season has them ranked at No. 29, while Jack Lin and William Matheson, who have not lost in 11 of their last 12, were ranked No. 44.
Columbia has been ranked as high as No. 5 in the ITA team poll this season, peaking after going 2-1 during the ITA Team National Championship in Seattle. The Lions fell to No. 4 Georgia at that tournament but were victorious over No. 12 Baylor and No. 9 Oklahoma State.
ABOUT THE BIG RED
After a 22-4 season in 2017 when Cornell advanced to the NCAA Tournament, the Big Red have had an up-and-down season, entering the weekend at 10-10 (3-3 Ivy). Saturday’s home team has won its past trio of matches, including a 4-2 defeat of Yale and a 4-1 win at Brown last weekend.
Top singles player David Volfson is 9-5 this spring, while Jake Hansen has the best singles record at any one spot, going 7-1 at No. 5.
Cornell still has a lot to play for as the No. 45 ranked team in the country, as a win over Columbia could help the Big Red qualify for the NCAA Tournament as an at-large selection. If Cornell were to lose and drop to 10-11, they would be ineligible for postseason play with a record under .500.
A win on Saturday will give Columbia its fifth consecutive Ivy League title, its 15th in program history, and its 13th under the Columbia Tennis Alumni and Friends Head Coach Bid Goswami. The last Ancient Eight program to hoist five consecutive conference crowns was Harvard, as the Crimson were victorious from 1989 through 1993. Princeton has also accomplished the feat twice, including a record seven straight times from 1974-80.