Men’s tennis easily ousted North Central College 9-0 on Sunday at the Stagg Field tennis courts.
While the score was extremely lopsided, it came as no surprise to a confident Chicago squad.
“As the score also shows, this weekend’s match wasn’t one of the most challenging ones,” second-year Zsolt Szabo said. “Who will win the dual was never a question.”
The regular doubles lineup easily swept the first three matches—fourth-years Jan Stefanski and Troy Brinker won 8–3, first-years Ankur Bhargava and Deepak Sabada bested their opponents 8–3, and Szabo and fellow second-year Krishna Ravella had confidently won 8–2.
With the confidence the Maroons had before the match, head coach Taka Bertrand switched the lineup around.
Brinker and Golovin, however, remained at the No. 1 and 4 spots, respectively. Brinker made light work of his opponent in a 6–0, 6–2 win. Golovin, in his first match since March 23, showed no signs of rust, with a decisive 6–1, 6–0 victory.
“I was just really happy to be back out on the tennis courts, and I was glad that I was able to contribute to the team,” he said.
Meanwhile, Stefanski moved from No. 2 to No. 3, while Bhargava did the exact opposite. Stefanski allowed no games while Bhargava only allowed two.
Instead of Szabo playing No. 5 singles, third-year Harrison Abrams saw court time instead.
“I am always happy and eager to play against every team, but naturally, I accepted the coach’s decision,” Szabo said. “At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if I or another team member wins, if the team as a whole eventually wins.”
No. 5 singles turned out to be the only contested match of the day. Third-year Harrison Abrams had a slow start, slipping to 3–0 before losing the first set 6–1. In the set, the wind was having an adverse affect on his serving.
Abrams struggled with the impact of the wind on his serving in the first set, but adjusted for the poor conditions in the second and lost only one game.
With the Maroons having already clinched the dual, Abrams played a 10-point tiebreaker for the third set. After losing the first point, Abrams delivered the final punch to take the tiebreaker 10–6.
Although the competition at this week’s UAA tournament will be a lot stronger than the Maroons saw on Sunday, Szabo said that there are still some take-aways from North Central.
“Within each individual match, however, we tried executing formations and tried winning each and every point and it is in this way that this match helped us going into UAAs,” he said. “It is also a very different feeling going into UAAs with a won match than with a lost one.”
The Maroons will need to bring all the confidence they can get going into Thursday’s UAA tournament opener against Case. Just one week ago, the Maroons were beaten by the Spartans 7–2. But, Szabo said that the Maroons will come out stronger this time around.
“We are really excited to play Case again; this is a great opportunity to strike back,” he said. “We have already come together with the team to look back at what we have done well and what we have done badly against them last time. We worked a lot on our doubles and we are really looking forward to face them again.”