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Ben Goldsmith / Senior Staff Photographer

The Lions, led in part by Junior Jackie Tang, got off to an incredible start to the fall season, winning 22 of 24 singles matches.

Men’s tennis competed in its first event of the season at the Penn Invitational, with the squad winning 22 of 24 singles matches and 10 of 12 doubles matches across the weekend.

Competing for the first time since the NCAA tournament in May, the Lions headed into the invitational with three singles players and two doubles pairs featured in the first ITA Oracle Rankings of the year. While the team’s highest ranked singles player—senior Victor Pham—was absent, junior Jackie Tang, sophomore Jack Lin, and junior Adam Ambrozy played the top three singles matches for the weekend.

The Lions started the event on Friday, facing off against William & Mary, before going up against Denver and Middle Tennessee over the next two days.

“It was a very good event for us,” Head Coach Bid Goswami said. “They were all good teams. We needed this match play, and we actually did very well.”

The Lions convincingly swept singles and doubles against William & Mary, losing only one set across all eight singles matches. The doubles sweep continued against Denver, with the pair of Lin and senior William Matheson winning the top doubles match against Denver’s Matt Summers and James Davis 6-3. In singles, the Lions won the middle six singles matches, as Tang and freshman Ben Gollin lost the first and eighth singles matches, respectively.

On Sunday, the Light Blue completed its second singles sweep of the weekend against Middle Tennessee, with four of the eight singles victories being decided in three sets. Columbia and Middle Tennessee then went on to split the four doubles matches, with Columbia taking the first and second singles matches, and Middle Tennessee the third and fourth.

Next up for the Light Blue are two events, the Virginia Invitational and the Ivy Plus Tournament, both of which begin this Friday. Goswami noted that the first few events of the season aren’t just important for boosting Columbia’s ranking, but also for the squad to continue developing as the year progresses.

“Every match counts individually, and tennis is year-round, so that’s why we do it,” Goswami said. “But more importantly, we also do it so we know what they need to work on, so we can get better.”

chituga.weli@columbiaspectator.com | @CUSpecSports

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