The men’s tennis team began their season with a victory on Saturday. The 11th-ranked Maroons defeated the Flames of UIC on the road by a score of 5–2.
The Maroons excelled in singles, recording four victories and only two losses. Fourth-years Troy Brinker and Jan Stefanski, second-year Alex Golovin, and first-year Ankur Barghava each won his respective match-up.
Slotted first in the order, Brinker defeated UIC’s Alexander Raa 6–3, 6–4. Barghava defeated UIC’s Maurizio Feoli 7–6 (7–3), 6–3, at the No. 2 spot.
As the Maroons’ No. 3, Golovin lost the first set, but came back and won in three: 4–6, 6–2, 6–1. Second-year Zsolt Szabo lost to Nate Kirk 7–6 (7–5), 7–6 (7–4) at No. 4 singles, and first-year Deepak Sabada fell to Rahul Kamath in three sets as the team’s No. 5: 6–3, 3–6, 6–3. At No. 6 singles, Stefanski came out on top against Scott Shepardson in two sets, 7–5, 6–1.
Chicago also had the upper hand in doubles. They took the top two matchups and lost the third in a tiebreaker.
Brinker and Stefanski defeated Kirk and Shepardson 8–5, Barghava and Dabada defeated Kamath and Raa 9–8 (7–5), and Ravella and Szabo fell to Feoli and Reifer 9–8 (7–5).
The Maroons start their season with a 1–0 record under interim head coach Taka Bertrand, while UIC drops to 0–3. Following last season’s ninth-place NCAA finish, the Maroons are optimistic.
“Last year, we had our best season in history, so this year we want to continue moving forward,” Ravella said. “We have a strong team and our ultimate goal is to make a deep run at the NCAA tournament in May.”
The Maroons’ next match is February 2 against Chicago State. The meet is located at Bally’s, and will begin at 6 p.m.