This past weekend both the men’s and women’s teams recorded wins against the squads of ranked opponent Denison University. The men routed No. 35 Denison 8–1 and the women beat No. 25 Denison 6–3.
Going into the match, the male Maroons did not prepare in any specific areas but instead focused on general improvements. Second-year Nick Chua commented, “There were a lot of lessons we learned from indoor nationals, so we've been working on improving those and then tried to implement them in the matches.” It became apparent that no specific preparation was needed after all, because the match was smooth sailing from the very beginning.
To start things off, in doubles, the men won three straight matches to go ahead 3–0. Chua also mentioned, “The team did a really good job in executing in doubles at the second and third spot. We need to sharpen up a bit in first doubles, but it’ll happen with time.” The first doubles team of Chua and classmate David Liu has been superb all year, but the South Siders are setting their sights on perfection.
The duo won their match against Denison’s Kevin Brown and Jackson O’Gorman-Bean 9–7, but Chua believed there was plenty of room for improvement. The second doubles team of first-year Charles Pei and second-year Peter Leung and the third doubles team of second-years Bobby Bethke and Luke Tsai each won with impressive 8–2 final scores.
In singles play, the Maroons won five out of six matches on the day. Chua won his match against Brown in two sets, each with the score of 6–2. Pei, Liu, Leung, and first-year Max Liu each recorded a win as well. The single loss for the Maroons came in the third singles match between Denison’s O’Gorman-Bean and third-year Sven Kranz. With this imperious win over Denison, the squad improves to 8–1 on the season and a No. 6 ranking. And at this point in the season, the men must prepare for seven straight matches against ranked opponents before the UAA Championships in mid-April.
As for the women’s team, the win against No. 25 Denison came with a bit more trouble. In doubles play specifically, the Maroons’ first team of first-year Rachel Kim and fourth-year Lucy Tang and second pairing of second-year Ariana Iranpour and first-year Kaela Bynoe both fell to Denison 8–3 and 8–1, respectively. However, the third doubles team of third-year Tiffany Chen and fourth-year Stephanie Lee provided a spark for Chicago, winning the match 8–2.
Despite getting off to a slow start in doubles play, the Maroon women controlled almost all of singles play, winning five of six matches just like the men’s team. Kim, Tang, Bynoe, Chen, and Lee each came away with the win in order from the second match to sixth match. The sole loss came in the first singles match, in which Denison’s Lauren Hawley defeated Iranpour 6–3 and 7–6. Iranpour fought hard, but could not seem to gain the upper hand in the match.
This win brings the Maroons women’s squad to a record of 3–2. The team’s next match is this Saturday against No. 14 DePauw.