| By New York Tennis Magazine Staff
Photo courtesy of Columbia University Athletics

 

The Columbia Men’s Tennis team once again stands alone atop the Ivy League.

For the sixth year in a row, the Lions were crowned as conference champions. Unlike in the previous two seasons where they claimed a share of the conference title, Columbia won the title outright this season following a 7-0 defeat of Cornell in the season finale.

“I’m in awe of the guys,” said head coach Bid Goswami, a 2019 inductee into the USTA Eastern Hall of Fame. “I just said, ‘Stay the course.’ Until the last point, a good team always tries to find a way. I think we learned a lot as we went along about how tough we are.”

Defeating Cornell to claim the outright title was no easy task, though. The Lions would win two of the three doubles flights to claim the doubles point, but would drop the opening set in five of the six singles flights, which created some tense moments across the courts at the Dick Savitt Tennis Center.

Victor Pham would come back to defeat Alfia Ayeni 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 at first singles, but soon after, Evan Bynoe won at sixth singles and Eero Vasa held on to notch a victory at fifth singles and even the overall match at 2-2.

But Jack Lin pushed Columbia back in front with a 6-4, 6-4 victory against David Volfson at second singles, and Adam Ambrozy clinched the Lions’ team win with a 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(6) triumph over Lev Kazakov at third singles.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” said Goswami. “If I had to write a script, I would do it this way, but it was too much tension. I think Cornell is a great team, so we had to play our best. Four out of six singles matches were three sets, so it could go anywhere. Momentum was sometimes going away, sometimes coming back, so I’m glad it turned out the way it did.”

What made the victory more special is the fact that this is Goswami’s final season as head coach, having announced his retirement after 37 years leading the program. One of the first players he recruited and current Associate Head Coach, will take over leadership of the program.

“It has been my absolute privilege and honor to serve as Columbia University’s Men’s Tennis Coach these last 37 years,” said Goswami. “I am confident our program is in a very healthy and strong position now so it feels this is the perfect time for me to retire. How apropos then—and most exciting for me—that my very first recruit, Howard Endelman, will take over the helm of Lions tennis.”

The Lions, ranked 16th in the country, finished this season with an unblemished 7-0 record in conference play, and will take on Northeastern Conference Champion Bryant in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.