May 8, 2015
Oxford, Miss. – Georgia Tech got off to strong start by winning the doubles point Friday, but the 42nd-ranked Yellow Jackets could not capitalize and dropped a 4-1 decision to 17th-ranked Columbia in the opening round of the NCAA regional at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center.
The Ivy League champion Lions improved to 15-5 this season and advanced to play the winner of host Ole Miss and Alabama State in a Saturday 2 p.m. second-round match. The winner of that will move on to the championship finals in Waco, Texas. Tech finished its season with a 14-13 record after beating ACC teams ranked 8th, 35th and 14th to earn its NCAA bid.
“They’re a veteran team, and we didn’t carry the doubles momentum,” said Tech coach Kenny Thorne. “They did a great job of jumping on us right away and totally stealing the momentum away. Credit to them, their seniors just stepped up and took it to us. We weren’t unprepared. They just played very solidly at the beginning, and all of a sudden I look up and we’re down a break everywhere.”
Nathan Rakitt and Cole Fiegel set the tone early with an 8-5 win over Max Schnur and Vert Bancura at No. 3 doubles, and the Jackets got the point when freshmen Christopher Eubanks and Michael Kay rallied to get an 8-7 (7-2) win at No. 2 over No. 84 Ashok Narayana and Dragos Ignat.
But Columbia jumped on Tech early in singles, winning the first set in five of the six singles matches. Mike Vermeer evened the contest for the Lions by getting a 6-1, 6-4 win over Michael Kay on court 4, and Columbia took the lead when 17th-ranked Winston Lin downed Eubanks, 6-4, 6-4, on court 1.
Ashok Narayana got another straight set win for the Lions, 6-1, 7-6 (7-5) over Rakitt on court 3. Meanwhile, Tech’s Carlos Benito had fought back from a first set loss to even his match with Dragos Ignat on court 2, but the 108th-ranked Lion handily won the third set for the clinching point.
“We’re disappointed, because we didn’t just want to get to the tournament,” said Thorne. “I’m proud of these guys for the way they got to the tournament and never stopped fighting. One of the hardest things to do is take a lot of tough losses and keep believing, and get to where we were today.”
#17 Columbia 4, #42 Georgia Tech 1
May 8, 2015 at Oxford, Miss. (Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center)
1. #17 Winston Lin (CU) def. #53 Christopher Eubanks (GT) 6-4, 6-4
2. #108 Dragos Ignat (CU) def. Carlos Benito (GT) 6-2, 2-6, 6-2
3. Ashok Narayana (CU) def. Nathan Rakitt (GT) 6-1, 7-6 (7-5)
4. Mike Vermeer (CU) def. Michael Kay (GT) 6-1, 6-4
5. Shawn Hadavi (CU) vs. Cole Fiegel (GT) 3-6, 6-4, 2-1, unfinished
6. Bert Vancura (CU) vs. Eduardo Segura (GT) 6-4, 3-4, unfinished
1. #46 Winston Lin/Mike Vermeer (CU) vs. Eduardo Segura/Carlos Benito (GT) 6-5, unfinished
2. Michael Kay/Christopher Eubanks (GT) def. #84 Ashok Narayana/Dragos Ignat (CU) 8-7 (7-2)
3. Nathan Rakitt/Cole Fiegel (GT) def. Max Schnur/Bert Vancura (CU) 8-5
Georgia Tech 14-13; National ranking #42
Columbia 15-5; National ranking #17
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (4,1,3,2)
Columbia advances to the second round to face Ole Miss/Alabama State winner.