The 2013 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championship doubles finals were held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Sunday. In men's doubles, it was Ashok Narayana & Max Schnur of Columbia thrilling the local fans by defeating the top seeds and ITA Preseason number one-ranked team of Mikelis Libietis & Hunter Reese of Tennessee. The Lions had a boisterous section of teammates, family, friends and alumni cheering them on, as they captured their program's first national title with a 6-3, 6-2 win.
The match turned at 3-3 in the first set, when Narayana hit two backhand volleys to help break Reese's serve for the 4-3 lead. From there, the Lions kept up their clean play, and they broke Libietis' serve to take the first set, 6-3.
In the second set, the vocal Lions fans were in full effect and Narayana and Schnur would win six straight games to take a 3-0 lead in set two. The Lions never relented and they closed out the win 6-3, 6-2.
"I'm so proud of our guys, they personify what it means to prepare, to be focused and persevere through obstacles and challenges," said Columbia Men's Tennis Coach Howard Endelman. "Our guys deserve the trophy for all the extra work they've put in."
After the win, the Columbia pair said all the home team support definitely helped them.
"I think we have some of the best fans in nation. I was a little surprised that it got this loud for this specific match," Narayana said after that match. "But I think that was a mistake on my part—I should have expected this."
Schnur added, "Once we won the first set, the chants started coming. 'Let's go Lions' and I think we fed off that really well and it was a really great atmosphere for us. We knew we had to play well and play smart. They're great players and I think we did a good job mixing it up and good strategies in making them uncomfortable and then obviously we fed off our crowd."
In women's doubles, Georgia Tech's Kendal Woodard & Megan Kurey won their program's first national title with a hard-fought 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 win over Julia Fellerhoff & Rebecca Shine of Louisville. In the first set, neither team was able to break serve until the Cardinals broke Woodard at 5-4 to capture the first set. But the Yellow Jackets grabbed an early lead in the second and held on to level the match and they built a 3-0 lead in the third set. But with Woodard serving at 3-1 up, the Cardinals showed they were not about to fold and they broke back then held to level the set at 3-3. Georgia Tech broke Fellerhoff's serve for a 5-3 lead, but they could not close out the win and the Cardinals broke then held for 5-5. With Shine serving, Georgia Tech dug deep and on their third match point of the game they were able to close out the victory.
The Yellow Jacket duo said they were thrilled to bring the national title back to Atlanta. Kurey said. "It feels great. We're so lucky to be part of such a great program and we're so excited."
In doubles consolation play, Brynn Boren & Zoe Katz of USC defeated Pleun Burgmans & Emily Flickinger of Auburn 8-7(4) on the women's doubles side, and Peter Kobelt & Kevin Metka of Ohio State batted back from 6-7 down to win 8-7(5) over Giron & Mackenzie McDonald of UCLA in the men's doubles consolation final.
Credit all photos to Adam Wolfthal
The Columbia Lions celebrate their Mens Doubles victory
The National Indoor Intercollegiate Championship trophies
Georgia Tech Womens doubles team gets excited after winning a big point
Georgia Tech's Kendal Woodard and Megan Kurey hug in celebration of their victory
Doubles champions and finalists pose with their coaches and the NYJTL ballboys and girls