The Princeton men's tennis team will put its 5-0 start on the line this weekend when it heads to Dartmouth for the ECAC Tournament.
Princeton drew the No. 7 seed and will face second-seeded Columbia in a strong field. The eight-team draw includes seven of the eight Ivy schools except Yale, along with George Washington. Among the ITA-ranked teams in the draw are No. 40 Columbia, No. 62 Cornell, No. 63 Dartmouth, No. 25 Harvard and No. 55 Princeton.
Sixth-seeded George Washington and third-seeded Dartmouth will begin the tournament Friday at 4:30 p.m., followed Saturday by Princeton and Columbia at 9 a.m., fifth-seeded Brown and fourth-seeded Cornell at 12 p.m., and top-seeded Harvard and eighth-seeded Penn at 3 p.m. Play will continue Sunday and Monday at 8 a.m. each day with consolation matches followed by winners' bracket contests. All matches will be played only to decision.
In addition to having five ranked teams, the field has its share of ranked players as well. Those include Columbia's Ashok Narayana (97) and Winston Lin (11), Harvard's Denis Nguyen (41), Sebastian Beltrame (96) and Shaun Chaudhuri (103), and George Washington's Francisco Dias (79). Columbia's Narayana and Max Schnur (10), Cornell's Sam Fleck and Chris Vrabel (34), Harvard's Ngyuen and Casey MacMaster (14), and Princeton's Augie Bloom and Jonathan Carcione (45) are the ranked doubles teams in the field.
Princeton has competed in the ECAC Tournament annually since 1996 except for 2007. In that time, Princeton has lost in the first round only twice in 17 tournaments, has made it to seven finals and has won the tournament once, in 2001. The Tigers lost in the semifinal last year to Columbia after getting past Dartmouth in the opening round. The last time Princeton advanced to the tournament final was in 2008.
The ECAC Tournament is the first of two events for the Tigers on back-to-back weekends. Next weekend, Princeton will head to Montgomery, Ala., for the Blue Gray National Tennis Classic. Though the draw will not be announced until next Wednesday, the field includes Alabama, Auburn, Boise State, Clemson, Mississippi State, Texas Tech, VCU and the Tigers. All eight teams are currently ranked in the ITA top 75, and a new ITA chart will be released next Tuesday.