Chicago will be looking to an unlikely pair this season to pace the team through regular season play. Fourth-year Megan Tang, a veteran with several postseason wins on her record and the heart of the squad over the past few years, has teamed up with first-year Ariana Iranpour in hopes of piecing together another winning campaign.
While Iranpour does add new blood to this veteran squad, she is hardly new to the collegiate tennis scene. In the fall Iranpour captured second in the singles competition at the ITA Central Region Championships, falling only to Wash U’s second-year Rebecca Ho. Iranpour and her doubles partner Tang also came away the tournament’s doubles champs.
This would be an impressive accomplishment for any player.
However, Iranpour was not done. She and Tang also took third in the doubles competition at the National Small College Championships.
At the Chicago State Invite, where the Maroons were the lone Division III squad competing, Chicago picked up seven wins on the first day of play, nine on the next, and a whopping 12 victories on the last day of the tournament.
Standouts for the Maroons included fourth-years Maggie Schumann and Kelsey McGillis. Schumann picked up singles victories all three days of the tournaments, adding wins in the doubles column with wins of Lewis and Green Bay. McGillis added wins in both the singles and doubles competitions throughout the tournament.
Third-year Stephanie Lee said, “Doing well in the fall was a great confidence boost, but we’re still training hard every day and working towards getting better and better.”
The fall season’s success led to the Maroons’ pre-winter season ranking of No. 12.
Their first challenge will be no easy task as they kick off play against their lone Division I opponent, UW–Milwaukee.
“Playing a team like Milwaukee will be tough, but it’s always exciting playing a DI team. It’ll be a good test to see how far we’ve come since the fall,” Lee said.
After winning the Horizon League last spring, the Panthers were picked to finish fourth of nine teams in a preseason poll. They return nationally ranked second-year singles competitor Hayley Marshall. The team dropped its last match to nationally ranked Minnesota and has three matches in the coming weekend.
Last season the Maroons began their winter schedule with a match against Illinois, another Division I school, and were defeated by a score of 7–0. The Maroons will be looking to start this winter with a better foot forward.
Following this match, Chicago faces fellow top ranked schools No. 28 Denison and No. 23 Case Western to begin Division III play.
The match against UW–Milwaukee serves up at 5 p.m. on Sunday in Milwaukee.