The Maroons’ plans for a deep run in the NCAA DIII tournament kick off this Saturday at Stagg Courts, as Chicago hosts the first round of the Women’s Tennis regional tournament. The South Siders will be joined by Carnegie Mellon, Augustana, Edgewood, St. Norbert, and St. Thomas (MN), each of which is aiming to be the team that moves on to the quarterfinals.
The excitement is mounting for Chicago as they get set to host regionals and shoot for a strong postseason run. The Maroons are lucky to start the tournament in familiar territory with friendly fans cheering them on. Look for them to use their home court advantage and first-round bye to give them a leg up in the tournament.
First-year Courtney Warren is particularly looking forward to the opportunity to host regionals. “We are very excited to start the playoffs especially because we are hosting,” she said. “We can’t wait to compete on our home courts and hopefully draw some fans.”
Chicago will have a bye, sending it automatically into the second round where the Maroons will play the winner of the Augustana (IL) vs. Edgewood matchup. Augustana and Edgewood come into the matchup with 23–8 and 18–10 records, respectively. This is not their first time playing each other this season; Augustana dominated the first matchup 9–0 on its home court.
On the opposite side of the bracket, Carnegie Mellon will play the winner of the St. Thomas (MN) vs. St. Norbert matchup. St. Thomas enters the tournament with an 18–2 record while St. Norbert enters with a 24–7 record. The Maroons will look to use their bye as an opportunity to scout their potential opponents and look for strengths and weaknesses.
Playing fresh, new opponents is always a challenge, and the South Siders will have to make the necessary adjustments to remain successful. Warren added that this is the Maroons’ biggest obstacle. “We haven’t played either team at all this year so I think our biggest challenge is to adapt to whatever these teams throw at us.”
This trial is compounded by the quality of the teams that are playing in the NCAA tournament. Every team that has made the tournament has proven with its record and body of work that it is worthy of playing in the NCAA tournament.
If you think the Maroons are going to lie down and avoid the adversity, think again. Warren added confidently, “I think everyone is definitely up for the challenge.”
While there are certainly a lot of new challenges being thrown at the South Siders, their approach should stay the same. The Maroons will try to keep high energy across all courts, compete, and give their best in every match. Chicago has had tremendous success throughout the season with its winning formula, and hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
The Maroons play their first match this Saturday at 2 p.m. at Stagg Courts against the winner of Augustana vs. Edgewood.