No. 19 men’s tennis will return to the Dick Savitt Tennis Center to face Buffalo in its home opener on Saturday.
The Lions (1-1) split their weekend matches in Stillwater, Oklahoma, last weekend to open their season. Although the team fell to Oklahoma State 4-1, it bounced back to sweep Tulsa 4-0 by earning a split in its trip.
As the team returned home, head coach Bid Goswami was pleased with the result, noting that the Cowboys were a top-five team and that the win over the Golden Hurricane would give the team a large confidence boost heading into the rest of the nonconference slate.
That slate will continue with this weekend’s match against the Bulls (1-2), who have opened their season with three consecutive road matches against Ivy League foes. Buffalo fell to Yale and Cornell before topping Brown in its most recent match, and will travel to Morningside Heights for its fourth consecutive match against an Ancient Eight opponent to open its dual season.
The Bulls are a prominently young and international team, having replenished themselves this offseason. They added four first-years—all international players—to their roster, forming an eight-person roster with only two Americans and one senior player.
Goswami said the home court advantage against Buffalo would be a welcome change for the team, which hasn’t played at home since last year.
“They’re a pretty strong team in our region, so it should be a good match,” Goswami said.
The Lions, who are led by sophomore Victor Pham and senior Shawn Hadavi, will look to extend a home winning streak that has spanned three seasons. The Light Blue’s last home loss came against BYU in its 2013 home opener, so the team will feel the pressure of maintaining its streak and starting the season on a positive note.
Hadavi, who was battling a back injury, recovered to have a solid weekend in Stillwater, cruising to a straight-set victory over Tulsa’s Majed Kilani in his most recent match. For Goswami, however, the most important aspect was that the Dobbs Ferry, New York native appeared to be healthy.
“That [Hadavi’s health] is a very good sign for Shawn and for Columbia tennis,” Goswami said. “I hope that this continues, because after he lost to Stanford last year, he came back and gained a lot of confidence to finish the season strong.”
Up and down the lineup, the match should be competitive, but Goswami said he felt confident that the result would take care of itself if his team came out and performed at the level at which they were capable.
Play at the Dick Savitt Tennis Center will begin at 4 p.m. on Saturday.