The women’s tennis team put on a show Saturday afternoon, orchestrating a beat down to win its first Ivy match of the season over Cornell, 6-1. The No. 33 Lions (12-2, 1-0 Ivy) dominated the Big Red (7-4, 0-1 Ivy) from start to finish, easily clearing the first hurdle in the chase for the Ivy title.
“This was one of the best teams we’ve faced so far this season, so I thought it was a really good first match for us to get under our belts,” head coach Ilene Weintraub, CC ’02, said. “I’m very proud of the players, that they were able to execute and stick to our strategies and game styles and get the W today.”
The match’s direction was clear from the early going when the No. 30 doubles pair of junior Crystal Leung and first-year Tina Jiang took a 5-0 lead over Christy Kung and Dena Tanenbaum, finishing first with an 8-2 victory. On the third court, seniors Ioana Alecsiu and Tiana Takenaga cruised to victory to clinch the doubles point. Up 7-4 when Alecsiu and Takenaga won, the No. 14 duo of senior Bianca Sanon and sophomore Kanika Vaidya’s match went unfinished on the first court.
“Today we just set each other up—Crystal was finishing her volleys well,” Jiang said. “Everything was working really well together, playing really aggressive.”
Weintraub said she thought the Lions gained some momentum that carried over into singles, and it showed as the team won five of six matches in straight sets. Jiang was first off the third court with a 6-2, 6-1 win. Then Alecsiu, Vaidya, and Leung each won their matches within three minutes of one another, sealing Columbia’s first Ivy victory. No. 71 Vaidya’s 6-2, 6-1 win over Dena Tanenbaum officially clinched the match with Columbia’s fourth point.
“I’ve never played her before, but I knew she was going to come out strong too,” Vaidya said. “She was hitting really flat and low, but I knew I had to do me, play my own game, and stay focused no matter what. And I think that really worked out well today.”
Soon after, Takenaga won her match on the fifth court, 6-3, 6-0.
The second court featured the most competitive match with Sanon and the Big Red's Maika Cusick. The other five singles matches were over by the time Cusick won the first-set tiebreaker. With the day’s outcome long decided, though, Sanon retired for Columbia’s only loss.
With such a dominating performance, Vaidya described the match as clean and a confidence booster.
“Everyone killed it today,” Vaidya said. “I think everyone is feeling good right now. We’ve worked really hard, so to get the win 6-1 today is really nice.”
The Lions will continue their Ivy slate next weekend at Harvard and Dartmouth.