SPORTS

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April 12, 2011

Best in the Midwest

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Men’s and women’s tennis could not be stopped this past weekend. The women were victorious against 27th-ranked UW-Whitewater, 17th-ranked Wash U, and sixth-ranked Denison to earn the title at the prestigious Midwest Invitational. After their victories, the men smoothly defeated North Central on Sunday 8–1. The wins continue to increase the momentum of both teams going into the UAA Championships.

For the women, Friday evening’s clash against UW-Whitewater proved to be the most difficult match en route to the title. Second-year Linden Li and third-year Carmen VacaGuzman paired to play first doubles, a change from their normal second doubles spot. The pair, however, was not nervous about the match.

“We knew all we had to do was play our aggressive game and everything would turn out fine,” Li said.

By returning serves to their opponents’ feet, Li and VacaGuzman were able to pull away from a tight score of 5–4 to win 8–4. The trend continued at second doubles as third-years Aswani Krishnan and Jennifer Kung rattled their opponents off the court with a score of 8-3. In singles, wins by five of the six Maroons secured the victory. Because of this, Chicago clinched a spot in Saturday morning’s semifinal against UAA foe Wash U. In spite of the minimal rest between matches, the South Siders were not fatigued after their win against UW-Whitewater.

“After the Friday match, we had a good afternoon rest and were completely prepared to take on the next two matches,” Li said.

Chicago streamed past Wash U 5-2 and clinched the title, beating Denison 5-1. The wins add to the Maroons impressive resumé and give them determination going into larger tournaments.

“Winning the Midwest Invite only solidified our confidence for the UAA and NCAA tournaments. It is just one baby step closer to our ultimate goal of winning the national championship. Every point counts,” Li said.

For the men, Sunday’s dual against North Central captured the best of Chicago tennis. Despite North Central’s 5–7 record, the Maroons were determined to not overlook the Cardinals and to continue to play their best tennis.

“North Central could have been a potentially dangerous team, especially at the top of their lineup, so it was important to not let our big win from last weekend get the best of us and keep our focus as the season moves on,” first-year Krishna Ravella said.

While first-year Zsolt Szabo did not play due to an injury, head coach Marty Perry decided to continue with the tactics he used against Wash U in last week’s thrilling upset. In place of Szabo, second-year Harrison Abrams paired with Ravella at second doubles, while first-year Alex Golovin stayed with third-year Jan Stefanski at first doubles and third-year Troy Brinker stayed with first-year Neil Karandikar at second doubles. Once again, the strategy worked as all three doubles teams saw commanding victories.

“Our doubles are exactly where we need them to be right now. After sweeping Wash U’s doubles, I strongly feel that we can now go into each doubles match with the best chance of winning at every position,” Brinker said.

The Maroons continued their dominance at singles. In spite of a 6-2, 6-3 loss at first singles by fourth-year Will Zhang, the team had utmost confidence after the win.

“I think we stayed composed this match even after our big win last week,” Zhang said. “We just need to continue to play tough as a team, because our season is far from over.”

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