The Maroons fell just short of reaching the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division III National Championship this past Sunday in the third round. Although the Maroons were defeated by No. 5 Carnegie Mellon in a match that would have sent them to the Elite Eight, they were able to go home proud of what they accomplished this year.
The South Siders faced a difficult schedule this year. The team played against nationally ranked opponents 12 times this spring. This includes eight games in which they faced teams ranked in the top 15. Additionally, the South Siders needed to travel to nearly all of their games, only playing three matches at home all year. That said, Chicago finished the season with a winning record (13–12).
In the postseason, the Maroons kicked things off with the UAA Championship, which they entered as the fourth seed. The South Siders won their first match and then lost to defending National Champion Emory and heated rival Wash U. All in all, the Maroons were able to take home third at the UAA Championships. However, the main reason for that loss against Wash U may have been first-year Ariana Iranpour’s injury. Iranpour was injured in her doubles match, forcing her to retire. She did not return for the rest of the season, a devastating blow to a team that had relied so heavily on the young star.
After the match, coach Jay Tee said, “We’ve come a long way since the season started, and we hope to get a chance to prove ourselves in the NCAA Tournament.”
Two weeks later, Chicago reached the regional level of the National Championship for the seventh year in a row. The No. 15 Maroons hosted the regional round and received a first-round bye. The South Siders opened up play by soundly defeating Augustana 5–0. While the Maroons fought valiantly, they fell for the second year in a row to Carnegie Mellon in the third round, ending their championship run. Part of this was due to injuries, as Iranpour and her fellow first-year, Courtney Warren, were unable to play.
With the season now finished, Chicago will graduate three seniors: Megan Tang, Kelsey McGillis, and Maggie Schumann. All three of these women have earned All-American honors in their time with the Maroons and have been a big part of the team’s success over the past four years. It will be difficult for the South Siders to fill these gaps next year, but the team is confident that the unity of its players will see it through the transition.
First-year Jasmine Lee said, “We got very close as a team this year. It was noticeable how much better we played when the team held together, even when we had tough days. I’m really proud to be a member of this team.”
With a strong team atmosphere and obvious young talent, the Maroons should have no trouble carrying on their history of success next year. As a group of women best characterized by their hard work, the team will certainly enter the next year fit and eager.