In the DIII NCAA tournament Quarterfinals, the Maroons faced possibly their toughest competition of the year. They were tasked with taking down Amherst College, last year’s DIII Champion and this year’s second seed.
The meeting was marked by delays, close matches, and plenty of intrigue. In the end, the two squads weren’t separated by much. Although both teams played valiantly, Chicago pulled out the narrow 5-4 win to advance to its first NCAA DIII Semifinals.
Doubles play started on time, and the defending champions were quick to open up their lead. Chicago fourth-years Deepak Sabada and Ankhur Bhargava lost 8-5 at No. 1 doubles. At No. 2 doubles, Chicago first-year Luke Tsai and second-year Max Hawkins dropped their match 8-1. The Maroons kept the margin close, however, with first-years Nicholas Chua and David Liu winning easily at No. 3 doubles, 8-1.
Heading in to singles, Amherst held the slim 2-1 overall advantage. The Lord Jeffs hoped to carry their momentum into the next round of matches. Singles play, however, was delayed by rain. Soon enough, night fell, and it was too dark to play on the outdoor courts. After deliberation, and now deep into the night, play was resumed indoors.
At No. 4 Singles, first-year Peter Leung won in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2. Tsai, too, made quick work of his opponent, winning 6-0, 6-0 at No. 5 Singles. The Quarterfinals were going to be decided by the remaining four matches, each of which ended up going to three sets.
At No. 3 Singles, Sabada lost in a three-set heartbreaker, 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-3. At No. 3 Singles, Chicago second-year Sven Kranz also lost a close match, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2. Things were different, however, at No. 1 and No. 6 Singles.
At Court 1, Chua beat Amherst’s Andrew Yaraghi 6-1, 5-7, 6-4. Meanwhile, at No. 6 Singles, Liu pulled out the 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 victory. The wins were enough for Chicago to secure its place in the next round of the NCAA DIII Tournament.
After taking down the second seed, the South Siders will try to beat 6th seed Middlebury College later today 3:00 P.M. The match will again be held Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio.