FLUSHING, N.Y. - The Columbia men’s duo of Ashok Narayana
and Max Schnur
stunned the top-seeded and No. 1 nationally ranked pair of Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese from the University of Tennessee 6-3, 6-2 to win the doubles draw of the ITA/USTA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships on Sunday.
Serving as host of the tournament, the Lions entered the main doubles draw as a wildcard and made history in front of an enthusiastic crowd at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center by earning the program's first-ever collegiate Grand Slam and national tournament crown. It was also the first title earned by an Ivy League team since 1999, when James Blake of Harvard won the singles championship.
"Once we won the first set, the chants started coming, ‘Let’s go Lions!’ and I think we fed off that really well," Schnur stated. "It was a great atmosphere for us."
Narayana/Schnur wasted no time in making their presence known, kicking off round one of opening day on Thursday by downing the No. 3 doubles team in the nation, Jackson Withrow and Junior Ore from Texas A&M by an 8-4 score. The Columbia partnership continued their success with an 8-2 victory over No. 14 Rafael Aita/Sam Williams of UNCW in the second round later that day.
On Friday, Narayana/Schnur advanced to the semifinal round after toppling Simon Felix and Deni Zmak of Embry-Riddle, 8-3. They then roared their way into the final round on Saturday by overcoming over the Florida State pair of Lock/Nunez in the semifinals by set scores of 6-4, 6-4.
"We had good game planning and strategy," Narayana said. "We've been in these situations before, so we knew if we played well we would have a shot."