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Ivies Prepare for Ancient Eight Slate

Ivies Prepare for Ancient Eight Slate

PRINCETON, N.J. -- Ancient Eight play opens this weekend with a battle of ranked teams on the Ivy League Digital Network. The ranked Ivies—No. 20 Cornell and No. 25 Columbia—will square off for the second time this season, with Columbia having won the prior meeting, 4-1, in the ECAC Indoor Championships final on Feb. 19.

The Bears own an 11-5 record heading into April, including an 0-1 mark in Ivy League play thus far. Brown dropped its Ivy League opener to Yale, 5-2, on March 5 in the lone Ancient Eight match to be contested in March. The Bears rattled off eight-straight wins by at least a three-point margin from Jan. 29-Feb. 25 and were unbeaten in the month of February. In their lone match against a team currently noted in the Oracle/ITA rankings, Brown fell 4-2 to then-No. 36 and current No. 50 Old Dominion on March 19. The Bears will return to Ivy League play when they visit Harvard on Friday, April 7.

Reigning Ivy League champion Columbia, which has been ranked in 11-straight polls to start the 2017 campaign, currently sits at No. 25 in the Oracle/ITA Collegiate Tennis Division I National Team Rankings. The Lions have been ranked as high as No. 18 (Feb. 21) this season and sport an 11-3 mark heading into conference play—including signature wins over then-No. 24 and current No. 16 TCU, 4-3, on Feb. 12 and then-receiving votes and current No. 20 Cornell, 4-1, on Feb. 19 at the ECAC Indoor Championships. The Lions return to the court on Saturday, April 1, when they will face off against fellow ranked Ivy No. 20 Cornell at the Dick Savitt Tennis Center in New York, N.Y.

Cornell is 1-of-2 Ivies to feature in the national rankings, alongside Columbia. The Big Red have appeared in six-straight polls since breaking into the Top 25 on Feb. 21. The team currently sits at No. 20, but has been positioned as high as No. 15 (March 14) thus far. The Big Red boast a 15-2 mark heading into conference play and the aforementioned date with No. 25-ranked Columbia on Saturday, April 1. On March 12, Cornell earned a key 4-3 victory over then-No. 7 and current No. 13 Oklahoma. Then-No. 19 Columbia (4-1 on Feb. 19) and then-No. 35 Memphis (4-3 on March 5) are the only programs to have defeated the Big Red this season.

The Big Green claim a 7-10 record heading into Ivy League play, where they will host Harvard on Saturday, April 1. Six of Dartmouth’s losses have come against ranked opponents—current No. 44 Indiana (6-1 on Jan. 21), current No. 21 South Carolina (6-1 on Jan. 28), current No. 33 Minnesota (4-3 on Feb. 3), then-No. 44 and current No. 34 Memphis (4-3 on Feb. 24), then-No. 41 and current No. 36 Rice (4-1 on March 18) and then-No. 30 and current No. 29 Tulane (4-1 on March 23). By defeating then-No. 46 and current No. 47 South Alabama, 4-2, on March 24, the Big Green gained their first victory over ranked opposition..

Harvard sits at 12-8 entering League play with the aforementioned match at Dartmouth on Saturday, April 1. The Crimson have won three-straight matches to close out non-conference action. Three of Harvard’s losses have come to teams currently ranked among the top 50 in the Oracle/ITA rankings—current No. 50 Old Dominion (4-0 on Jan. 22), then-No. 9 and current No. 19 Northwestern (4-0 on Feb. 4) and then-No. 44 and current No. 34 Memphis (4-3 on Feb. 26). Nine of the Crimson’s 12 victories have come by at least a three-point margin, while their past two have been 4-3 bouts.

The Quakers own a 13-6 mark as they head toward their League opener on Friday, April 7, at Columbia. Penn has played six matches against teams currently ranked among the top 50 in the Oracle/ITA rankings, including a win over current No. 30 Wisconsin (4-3 on Feb. 11). Of their five losses to current ranked teams, Penn claims a pair of 4-3 defeats at the hands of current No. 33 Minnesota (Feb. 5) and then-No. 26 and current No. 50 Old Dominion (Feb. 26). The others were a 6-1 loss to current No. 45 Vanderbilt (Jan. 22), a 6-1 loss to current No. 36 Rice (Feb. 12) and a 7-0 defeat by then-No. 25 and current No. 29 Tulane (March 10).

The Tigers claim a 10-9 overall record as they prepare for their Ancient Eight opener at Cornell on Friday, April 7. Seven of Princeton’s losses have come against teams currently listed among the top 50 in the Oracle/ITA rankings—No. 18 Michigan (6-1 on Feb. 2), No. 44 Indiana (5-2 on Feb. 4), No. 30 Wisconsin (4-3 on Feb. 12), No. 20 Cornell (4-1 on Feb. 18), No. 48 Auburn (4-2 on Feb. 24), No. 41 Texas Tech (4-0 on Feb. 25) and No. 49 San Diego (4-0 on March 23). The Tigers did earn a key victory on Feb. 10 at Jadwin Gymnasium, defeating current No. 36 Rice, 4-3. After dropping three-straight matches on its spring break trip in California, Princeton will look to regain its form in Ivy League play.

The Bulldogs are coming off arguably their best match of the season—when they gave then-No. 11 and current No. 9-ranked Cal all it could handle in a 4-3 loss. Yale posted a 3-2 lead, before the Golden Bears rallied to take the final two singles matches and earn the victory. The loss snapped a month-long 10-match winning streak for Yale. Yale also owns a victory over then-No. 25 and current No. 50-ranked Old Dominion (4-3 on Feb. 24) and a good loss to current No. 20 Cornell (5-1 on Feb. 17). The Bulldogs will look to build upon their 14-4 mark as they enter the heart of the Ancient Eight schedule. Yale currently boasts the lone Ivy League victory, having topped Brown, 5-2, on March 5.