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February 20, 2012

Maroons fall to Whitewater, lose perfect season

Chicago came up short against UW–Whitewater, 4–5, in a grueling match on Sunday. The South Siders, who were undefeated going into the match, expected tough competition from the 21st-ranked Warhawks.

The afternoon began with doubles play, in what was quite a bumpy ride for the men. All three doubles teams lost against their respective opponents. Fourth-years Troy Brinker and Jan Stefanski fell 8–4; first-years Deepak Sabada and Ankur Bhargava were defeated 8–6, and second-years Zsolt Szabo and Krishna Ravella were edged 8–6.

The Maroons failed to capitalize in areas where they are normally successful.

“We felt like we have been playing good doubles all season, but yesterday we didn’t come out as aggressive as we should have,” Ravella said. “Whitewater went at us from the start and we lost a couple of close matches that usually go our way.”

Having been swept in doubles play, the Maroons knew that they would face an uphill struggle—they would need to win five of the six singles matches in order to come out on top.

At the top of the lineup, Brinker completed a three-set victory over 14th ranked Byron Balkin. The match was tightly contested, 6–4, 6–7 (11), and 6–3, with Brinker ultimately prevailing.

The Maroons quickly found themselves in another hole, however, when, at the number two slot, Bhargava, fell in three sets: 6–1, 6–7 (3), 4–6.

Second-year Alex Golovin brought the Maroons back into the game with a victory. Having lost the first set 2–6, Golovin rallied to win the remaining sets, 6–4, 6–3. Stefanski and Sabada followed Golovin’s lead, winning their matches in two sets; Stefanski with a score of 6–4, 6–2 and Sabada with 6–1, 6–4.

The match came down to the sixth slot game, where Brian Klein of Whitewater defeated third-year Dillon Klincke in three sets. Klincke began strong, winning 6–1, but lost the second set 3–6. Being down 4–0 in the final set, Klincke was not allowed to continue play, therefore, losing by default.

While this loss was important to the Maroons, it was not crucial.

“It just puts more pressure on us to beat top five teams, such as Wash U,” Golovin said.

While this was a tough loss for the Maroons, they will aim to get their season back on track at the ITA Indoor Championships against Wash U.

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