The Maroons capped off their season with a hard fought match at home on Saturday, a high-stakes match that would deliver the victor to the Elite Eight of the Outdoor NCAA Division III Championships. The Maroons battled injuries and rainy conditions to make their seventh straight regional final after beating Augustana College (IL) in the first round, but they came up short in the regional final against No. 5 Carnegie Mellon Tartans.
The Maroons entered the Augustana match as the favorite, but with injuries and sickness decimating the Maroon roster, the South Siders needed to lock in to move on to the next round. Second-year Tiffany Chen believed that the home field advantage really helped rally their squad against Augustana
“For Augustana, we knew we were the favorite to win, but knowing that we were down two starters, we still had to really focus and fight for each point. The conditions were rough, but playing at home was special, especially for the fourth-years.”
The home field advantage proved to be the catalyst in the first match as the Maroons swept the Vikings in doubles. Fourth-year Megan Tang and Chen showed up big as they both won their matches to give the Maroons their fourth and fifth points of the day.
Tang believed that the Maroons’ positive attitude against Augustana was key in overcoming their untimely injuries.
“We were all very excited and focused on bringing a ton of positive energy, which always leads to great results.”
The Maroons ended up beating the Vikings 5–0, and they advanced to the regional final for a showdown against Carnegie Mellon. Unfortunately for the Maroons, their match against the Tartans would not go as well. Both teams came into the final as the best-seeded teams, and it would prove to be the best match of the day.
The doubles matches went back and forth. The Tartans struck first winning 8–1, but the Maroons responded by winning the No. 2-seeded doubles match 8–4. The Maroons pushed the No. 3-seeded match to 7–7, but the Tartans ended up winning 9–7. Tang indicated the third match was indicative of how deep the Maroons were.
“Even though on paper it may look like Carnegie is a much stronger team, we were able to prove that we were right there with them. Losing at No. 3 doubles 9–7 was a clear indicator that our doubles lineup was solid throughout every spot.”
The Tartans would go on to beat the Maroons 5–1, but the final score was not indicative of how closely the Maroons played the Tartans.
Chen noted, “With half of our regular starting players out due to sickness and injuries, it was such a pleasure to watch every teammate step up and still bring the energy, positivity, and fight to the match, even if they haven’t had as much match experience throughout the season. Every single match we played against Carnegie was very close, and it showed how deep our team is in skill set and how dedicated everyone is to the team’s results.”
The Maroons have plenty to be proud about after their match against Carnegie Mellon. Even though the final score was not what they wanted, the seniors were sent off by a great effort from the entire team.
The Maroons’ senior class of Maggie Schumann, Kelsey McGillis, and Megan Tang finished their careers with a 66–34 record, and ended this season with a 13–12 record.