The No. 19 men’s tennis team (16-1, 3-0 Ivy) returned to its home courts after a long stretch on the road and gave its boisterous crowd a performance to cheer about, sweeping both No. 34 Harvard (12-6, 1-1 Ivy) and No. 41 Dartmouth (14-5, 1-1 Ivy) and extending its winning streak to 14 matches.
Head coach Bid Goswami deferred much of the praise to the players—especially the juniors.
“With them it goes beyond wins and losses,” he said. “I really feel that they do so much for the team as a whole. They motivate the team, and they are so good with recruits. They just do things the right way.”
Saturday, the Light Blue welcomed two-time defending Ivy champion Harvard to the Dick Savitt Tennis Center, where a large crowd crammed in to cheer on the home team. The Lions jumped out to an early lead by sweeping the doubles matches, highlighted by the triumph of the No. 12 duo of juniors Ashok Narayana and Max Schnur over the No. 11 Crimson pair of Denis Nguyen and Casey MacMaster, with whom the Lions have struggled with in the past.
“We’ve lost to them a couple times so it was good to beat them, even though we’d already taken the doubles point,” Narayana said. “We were trying not to think too much about that, we just wanted to win.”
In singles, sophomore Dragos Ignat picked up a quick win for Columbia, and Schnur battled back after losing his first set to put the Lions up 3-0. Sophomore Mike Vermeer then clinched the Light Blue win on the No. 6 court.
Sunday’s match against the Big Green was déjà vu for the Light Blue, which swept Dartmouth, 4-0. Columbia grabbed the doubles point quickly, and took just over an hour more to clinch the match, with Ignat, Vermeer, and junior Bert Vancura each winning in straight sets.
Although the team struggled earlier in the winter with its doubles play, it was able to get that crucial point against both opponents this weekend.
“I think if we keep playing how we did, we’ll keep winning,” Goswami said. “The guys played really well, and they competed really well. We’ve been doing more doubles work lately, and it shows.”
Narayana, who has developed quite a bit in both doubles and singles over the course of the season, attributes the team’s overall improvement to the players’ consistent work ethic.
“Everyone has really improved, and we’ve all been working hard, whether on the court, or in the gym, working on our fitness,” he said.
Although the team mirrors Goswami’s enthusiasm, Narayana said the players are far from complacent about their current success.
“I think we still haven’t really done anything yet,” he said. “It’s all about winning the Ivies.”
The Lions are on the road next weekend taking on Brown and Yale.