Their chances have now become a lot slimmer.
The #30 Maroons lost against #21 Case 7–2 and against #17 Wash U 7–2 on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. With those losses, the Maroons’ seed will not only be lower at the UAA tournament, but their chances of receiving a bid to the NCAA Tournament will rest on their performance in that competition.
On Saturday, the Maroons were unable to perform strongly from the get-go. The three doubles teams, fourth-years Troy Brinker and Jan Stefanski at No. 1, first-years Ankur Bhargava and Deepak Sabada at No. 2, and second-years Zsolt Szabo and Krishna Ravella at No. 3, lost 8–5, 8–4, and 8–4 respectively. Despite being down 3–0 going into singles, not all hope for a team victory was lost.
“We were still very positive going into singles, as it has happened a couple of times that we have gotten back from 0–3 in singles,” Szabo said. “Before our match against Case, we saw Wash U win against Case after being down 0–3 after the doubles matches.”
Szabo showed his positive energy throughout his No. 4 singles’ match. But at 5–4, 15–40 with Case’s Rohan Patel serving, he was unable to capitalize on his two set points.
After that, Patel broke Szabo to be up 6–5. Still, Szabo broke back to send the match to tiebreak and ran with the tiebreaker 7–3.
But the match was far from over. Patel took a 3–0 lead in the second set before Szabo broke him twice to win 7–6 (3), 6–4.
He credits the grudge victory to his serves.
“I tried dominating with my serves,” Szabo said. “I hit my first serves in with a very high percentage, which I thought helped a lot in winning this match.”
Unfortunately for Chicago, only one other Maroon had a win on the day. Sabada defeated Eric Klawitter 6–2, 1–6, 6–2. Brinker and Stefanski were barely edged out at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, 5–7, 6–3, 6–1 and 4–6, 6–3, 6–3, respectively. No. 6 player Harrison Abrams lost 6–3, 7–5.
Because Chicago barely lost to Wash U 5–4 on February 24, the team was not about to dwell on the loss to the Spartans.
“We could not be sorry for ourselves for long, as we were going to play Wash U the next day, which, seeing our previous matches against them, seemed very doable,” Szabo said. “Even though the overall score does not reflect it, the Case match did not beat us down but instead lifted us up and we tried even harder.”
Once again, Szabo, along with doubles partner Ravella, came out swinging at No. 3 doubles. Szabo held serves throughout the match to help give the pair the 8–5 win.
But the other doubles matches did not favor the Maroons. Bhargava and Sabada were barely bested 9–7 while Brinker and Stefanski lost 8–5.
Bhargava was the lone victor in singles, 3–6, 6–3, 10–5.
For the Maroons to receive a bid to the NCAA Tournament, they will need to win the UAA Championship. Although they just lost to two UAA teams, they have not lost hope.
“This weekend was not ours, but soon I am sure we will be on the other side of the score card,” Szabo said.
Ravella puts it best. “Anything can happen,” he said.
The Maroons play North Central College at home on Sunday at noon.