For the past two years, the No. 12 Maroons’ attempts to capture the Division III ITA Nationals title have been thwarted by conference and national foes alike. The Maroons had finished third the two years prior to this past weekend’s tournament. However, with a tough road ahead of them the Maroons were confident heading into the stacked tournament.
“This weekend, our goal [was] to place better than third, which is how we have finished the past two years,” said fourth-year Megan Tang. “Ultimately [we] want to win the entire tournament.”
But despite their confidence heading into the tournament, the South Siders fell short of that elusive title yet again. They again finished third.
The first match on the docket for the Maroons (6–3) was against the No. 11 DePauw Tigers (3–3) on Friday evening. The Maroons and Tigers have been familiar foes over the years, frequently meeting in various indoor and outdoor tournaments across the Midwest and the rest of the country.
Perhaps using that familiarity to their advantage, the Maroons were able to jump ahead of the Tigers early, taking two of the three doubles matches to open the day.
When singles play came up, the same tune was sung as the Maroons snagged four of the six singles matches, led by the performances of first-year Ariana Iranpour, Tang, first-year Jasmine Lee and second-year Tiffany Chen. The Maroons snared the Tigers by a match score of 6–3, and had set a date with No. 4 John Hopkins (3–0) in the semifinals on Saturday afternoon.
Heading into the match against the Blue Jays, the Maroons knew they had the toughest and strongest opponent in the tournament standing before them. The Blue Jays were the top ranked team in the tournament and the favorites to take home the championship. To topple John Hopkins, it was going to a take a team effort with contributions from everyone.
“We want to remember that we are playing for each other and to cheer one another on after every point,” Tang said.
With this attitude in mind, the Maroons stepped into the metaphorical “ring” against the Blue Jays. However, after dropping two of the three doubles matches, the South Siders found themselves in an early hole. Regardless, they were not shaken, and in singles play, they were able to win the top two seeded matches. Top singles player Iranpour was able to snag a win, as was second-in-command Megan Tang.
However, while the South Siders were also bolstered by a win from third-year Lucy Tang, they were not able to knock off the Blue Jays as the Maroons ultimately fell by a match score of 5–4. With this, the Maroons were relegated to the third-place match for a third straight year, this time against chief rival, No. 8 Wash U (3–2).
While the Maroons had missed out on the national championship, they had an opportunity to stake a claim as one of the top teams in the country heading into the outdoor season.
The South Siders came out with some intensity and were able to take two out of three doubles matches to open up play.
On the singles side, the Maroons were able to protect their lead. They managed to win four out of the six singles matches. Led by the efforts of Megan Tang, Lee, Chen and third-year Stephanie Lee, the Maroons took home the overall match by a score of 6–3, sealing the third place title.
With the ITA Indoor National Championships wrapped up, the Maroons will have a change of pace as the outdoor season begins. The season opens up this Sunday with a matchup against familiar foe DePauw in Greencastle, IN at 9 a.m.