Roar, Lion, Roar

Men’s Tennis Wins Third Straight Ivy Crown

Mike Vermeer GS’16

Mike Vermeer GS’16

Mike McLaughlin / Columbia Athletics

Men’s tennis, led by Shawn Hadavi ’17 and Mike Vermeer GS’16, swept all seven dual meets against Ivy League opponents for the third consecutive year before bowing to Penn State 4–3 in the first round of the NCAA Championships on May 14. Columbia compiled a 17–6 overall record and finished the season ranked 25th nationally after having been as high as No. 15 early in the season.

“In 34 years of coaching, I have never won three in a row,” coach Bid Goswami said. “I am so proud of what this team was able to accomplish, and how they were able to accomplish it.”

In singles play, Vermeer was 20–2 in the spring season and swept all seven Ivy League opponents, Hadavi compiled a 15–6 record playing at No. 1 singles and defeated six of seven Ivy foes, and Eric Rubin ’16 was 13–4 and won five of six Ivy matches, with one uncompleted. In doubles competition, the top team of Vermeer and Mike Rolski ’18 went 15–5, while Hadavi and Richard Pham ’17 were 9–6.

Hadavi was a unanimous choice for Ivy League Player of the Year and was named to the All-Ivy First Team in singles and Second Team in doubles. Vermeer was named to the All-Ivy First Team in doubles and Second Team in singles, where he was joined by Rubin and Victor Pham ’19. Hadavi was joined by Michal Rolski ’18 on the Second Team in doubles.

It was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Lions, following the loss of an outstanding senior class topped by Winston Lin ’15, who had led Columbia to the NCAA Sweet 16 in consecutive years.

But the Lions wouldn’t hear of it.

Despite losing to all three opponents at the ITA Team Indoor Championships and then being shut out by third-ranked TCU at the end of spring break, they regrouped in time for Ivy play and beat Cornell 4–1 in the league opener. The Lions’ closest call in the Ivies came on April 3 against Harvard when, after splitting their first six matches, the team’s fate lay in the hands of Victor Pham ’19. Pham dropped the first set of his match against Sebastian Beltrame 3–6 but rallied to win the second set 6–4. The third set went all the way to a tiebreaker, which Pham won 8–6.

The Lions closed out the Ivy season impressively, sweeping Princeton at home 4–0 on April 17 before traveling to Philadelphia and beating Penn 5–1 two days later. They would not fare as well at the NCAA Championships in Charlottesville, Va., where they split their first six matches against Penn State before the Nittany Lions’ Marc Collado defeated Timothy Wang ’19 6–1, 4–6, 6–1.