No. 16 Tennessee lost to No. 18 Columbia, 4-2, at Goodfriend Tennis Center in the championship match of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend’s Knoxville regional.
“Making national indoors is great and unfortunately we won't be going but we've got to keep rolling," head coach Chris Woodruff said. "We can't look back, we have to keep looking forward and build on it. We'll get better. It is a process and right now it stings but it is a long season. We'll learn to handle this adversity and the guys will get it together and we'll be ready to play.”
Tennessee has played three ranked opponents to start off its season, with Columbia being the third. The first ranked team was then No. 22 Oklahoma, who Tennessee beat 4-3. The second ranked opponent was No. 16 Arizona State, who the Vols swept 4-0 on Saturday. Sunday’s match against Columbia is Tennssee’s first loss of the season as they now stand at 6-1.
In doubles, Tennessee lost the point, which is the first time they have not won the doubles point all year. The Vols started off strong with Scott Jones and Pat Harper defeating Alex Kotzen and Rian Pandole 6-3, giving the Vols the early lead.
Columbia quickly tied up the match with its duo of Jason Lui and Adam Ambrozy topping Tennessee’s Mark Wallner and Adam Walton, 6-4. The Lion’s third-ranked duo of Jackie Tang and Jack Lin won the doubles point for Columbia as they defeated Andrew Rogers and Giles Hussey, 6-3.
Like in doubles play, Tennessee started off fast in singles as they won five first sets out of six.
A battle between two top-25 players occured on court one with No. 23 Walton facing off against No. 6 Lin. Walton captured the first two sets, 6-4, 6-2 to take the win. It was Walton’s 13th win against a ranked opponent in his career. It was also his first against an opponent inside the top 10.
Columbia won the second singles point thanks to No. 79 Kotzen’s three set victory against Luca Wiedenmann which went 6-4, 4-6, and 3-6. This was Wiedenmann’s first loss of the season.
Hussey tied up the match at two for Tennessee with a win against Ambrozy 7-6 (7-3), 7-5.
The final two matches went in favor of Columbia. With today’s win, Columbia qualified to advance to the ITA Indoor National Championships.
Rogers lost to Austen Huang 6-4, 5-7, 4-6 and Jones was defeated by No. 73 Tang 3-6, 6-2, 4-6.
Martim Prata’s match against Pandole went unfinished, but was a close three-set bout, with Prata holding the advantage 6-2, 5-7, 5-4.
Tennessee will look forward to a home match doubleheader against Georgia State and Mercer. The matches will be held on Friday, Jan. 31 with Georgia State playing at noon and Mercer at 4 p.m.