Men’s tennis finished its fall season last weekend competing at two separate events, with players competing in both the ITA Fall National Championships in Arizona, as well as the Navy Gold Invite in Maryland.
While four players traveled to Maryland for the Naval Academy-hosted Navy Gold Invite, the ITA Fall National Championships featured three Columbia men’s tennis players: sophomore Jack Lin, senior Will Matheson, and junior Jackie Tang.
The team of four players at the Navy Gold Invite was very successful in singles competitions, with all four players winning their singles tournament brackets. Meanwhile, in the singles draw of the ITA National Fall Championships, junior Jackie Tang drew the third seed in the first round—South Carolina’s Paul Jubb. Tang captured the first set 6-3, but eventually lost the next two 6-1 and 6-3. Head coach Bid Goswami went on to explain that Tang had picked up an injury during the match, which also forced him to withdraw from the singles consolation draw.
“Unfortunately his back was bothering him, as he hurt it in the regionals a little bit,” Goswami said. “He re-aggravated it at the beginning of the second set, and even though the trainer came in, Paul Jubb is a very good player and it was difficult to win that match.”
Meanwhile, Lin and Matheson were the first seed for the main draw of the men’s doubles event—a notable first in program history—after winning a second consecutive ITA Northeast Regionals title.
In the first round, Lin and Matheson faced the unseeded pairing of Vinny Gillespie and Barny Thorold from Drake. After losing the first set 6-3, they lost the second set in an extremely close tiebreaker, falling 7-6(7).
Afterwards, the pairing had another chance to compete in the doubles consolation draw. They won their first round match against South Carolina’s doubles pairing of Paul Jubb and Yancy Dennis, before receiving a walkover in the next round. In the semifinals of the consolation draw, Lin and Matheson fell to the eventual winners—Penn State’s De La Bassetiere and Nemeth—in three sets, with the last one being a super tiebreaker.
“Expectations are high because you’re seeded No. 1,” Goswami said. “But I thought they played well together, and those tiebreakers are tough, they can go either way. We had been winning a lot of those tiebreakers before, but at this tournament we didn’t.”
Having completed their scheduled events for the fall season, the Lions will not compete again until the January 19 in Atlanta, Georgia, at the MLK Championships. Having more than two months off will give the Lions a chance to recuperate, with several players potentially returning to action.
“I expect everybody to be 100 percent, you know, they’re working hard to get back,” Goswami said. “I hope Jackie is a minor setback and of course we want Victor Pham to be back. Tim Wang also has a little bit of a wrist problem, but I think we should have a full squad by January.”