The Maroons have done it again. Men’s tennis defeated Kalamazoo on Sunday by a score of 5–4, to improve their record to 4–0. Chicago has been consistently ranked 11th in the country, but will no doubt continue to work hard as it makes a run for the top.
“The 11th place ranking can be misleading, there are a lot of tough teams out there,” head coach Taka Bertrand said.
The match on Sunday wasn’t without its troubles, however. Coming off of two dominating victories against Chicago State (9–0) and Elmhurst (8–1), the Maroons had problems putting the Hornets away.
In doubles play, the men swept the Hornets, with three straight wins; the duo of fourth-years Troy Brinker and Jan Stefanski won 8–4; first-years Ankur Bhargava and Deepak Sabada defeated their opponents 8-6; and second-years Krishna Ravella and Zsolt Szabo finished off Kalamazoo with an 8–2 victory.
In the first two matches of singles play, Brinker and second-year Alex Golovin had split results. Brinker lost to Mark Denenfeld in two sets, but Golovin was able to avenge the loss with a two-set victory over Steve Hanselman.
Leading 4–1, the Maroons let their lead slip, as Bhargava, Szabo and Sabada lost to their respective opponents. Suddenly, the Hornets found themselves back in the game, tied 4–4.
It all came down to Stefanski, who was able to pull out a win against David DeSimone. Stefanski won the first set 6–0, lost the second 4–6, and was able to finish on a strong note, with a 6–2 result in his third set.
Although Kalamazoo (0–2) was the unquestioned underdog coming into Sunday night’s game, they proved difficult to put away, as the undefeated Maroons failed to replicate the dominating performances from games past.
“We knew coming in that [Kalamazoo] was going to be a tough team,” Bertrand said.
The Hornets have dealt defeat to the Maroons in the past, beating them two years ago. Coming into the match, the team knew that, once more, Kalamazoo would be looking to bury them.
Ultimately, Chicago persevered and, they look to improve as they continue their season.
Although the team ended the night with a win, Bertrand commented that she expected the team to come into singles play with lots more momentum having just swept the Hornets in the doubles matches.
This Sunday, Chicago will travel to face UW-Green Bay and UW-Whitewater.