Can rest help rekindle Chicago’s fire?
After Wednesday’s match against UIC (5–14) was cancelled due to inclement weather, the rain kept coming down, postponing Thursday’s match against Wheaton (11–3) to Monday. This leaves the No. 29 Maroons (11–4) with a week of rest between their matches last weekend against No. 14 Wash U (13–5) and No. 18 Gustavus Adolphus (17–9) and tomorrow’s showdown against Carthage (8–7).
From February 16 through March 28, Chicago didn’t lose a single match, winning ten straight. However, losses to UW–Whitewater two weeks ago, followed by Wash U and Gustavus Adolphus last weekend, caused the Maroons’ momentum to fizzle.
Head coach Jay Tee knows his team can compete with tougher teams like Wash U and Gustavus Adolphus.
“Well, we’re playing hard,” Tee said. “We did have our chances, although it was tough playing Wash U [and Gustavus Adolphus] back-to-back. If we played a little better in the big moments, we could’ve gotten a win in that match and the Gustavus match.”
The Maroons are hopeful that a week of rest will allow them to come back with a win against Carthage and build power for their last few matches of the season before UAAs.
The main cause of the South Siders’ recent losses has been failing to capture the clutch points near the ends of matches—as seen by multiple game scores of 7–5 and 6–4 in singles, along with 8–6 match scores in doubles.
“We’re focusing on [giving better] effort and playing the big points a little better than we did last weekend,” Tee said.
It’s possible that the youth of this Chicago team could be a downfall in late-game situations. First-years Jake Crawford (No. 4 singles) and Gordon Zhang (No. 5) play both singles and doubles along with second-years Deepak Sabada (No. 1) and Ankur Bhargava (No. 2).
“We could definitely use a little more experience when it comes to some of these matches, just knowing what to expect, knowing how to close out matches. Our youth gives us some eagerness and energy that can really serve us well, too,” Tee said.
Sabada, who had won eight straight singles matches at one point this season, and Bhargava will be leading the Maroons against Carthage this weekend.
The host team, the Red Men, haven’t played any of the same teams as Chicago. However, they did lose by a score of 7–2 to Wheaton, whose season has mimicked the South Siders’. The Maroons will take on Wheaton on Monday.
The South Siders look to turn around their recent play tomorrow at 12 p.m. in Kenosha, WI against Carthage