First-year Kat Stevanovich prepares to serve.
Courtesy of University of Chicago Athletics Department
Chicago's team finished with a victory at the Midwest Invite following multiple wins over Kenyon College and UW–Whitewater this past Saturday. The Maroons, who are ranked No. 15, improved their record to 8–3 and were the second overall seed out of the 11 teams participating. The Kenyon College women dropped to 8–8 and the No. 26 ranked UW–Whitewater team fell to 8–3.
For the semifinals, the South Siders competed against Kenyon College to kick off the match-filled day. Kenyon took a pair of singles victories, both in three sets, at No. 1 and No. 4, but those would be the only wins they would get on the day. Aside from these two defeats, Chicago dominated the rest of the matches as it won four singles with ease in straight sets. The No. 1 doubles tandem consisting of first-year Rachel Kim and fourth-year Lucy Tang blasted past their competition 8–2 while simultaneously allowing the Maroons to capture the clinching team point and advance to the final.
Moving on to the championship match, the Maroons took on fifth-seeded UW–Whitewater. The Warhawks had surprisingly upset the top seed Wash U with a final score of 5–4 earlier in the invite. UW–Whitewater started off with a slam by taking a 2–1 lead following the doubles. The South Siders, however, rebounded and scored their first point against the No. 1 seed as Tang and Kim won the set 8–6.
The singles matches played out differently as the Maroons eliminated the Warhawks with ease by winning four out of the five completed matches. Tang took her match at No. 3 within three sets while the three other victors did not give up more than four games in their astounding straight-set victories.
Looking at the invite as a whole, Tang was undefeated at 4–0 in both singles and doubles. Kim was 3–1 between No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles. In addition to these impressive performances, third-year Tiffany Chen and first-year Kat Stevanovich won both their singles matches seeded at No. 5 and No. 6, respectively. This illustrates the depth of an already solid Maroon squad as they look to improve their national ranking.
“It’s a great feeling to recapture the Midwest Invite Championship again,” head coach Jay Tee said, when assessing the team’s performance on the day. “It’s been a couple years since we won it last so it feels good to be back on top of the region. We played hard and fought off some tough competition and found a way to win some close matches. Hopefully this gives us some confidence as we head into the last month of the season.”
The women will face off against the No. 9 Wash U Bears next Saturday at 2 p.m. The conference rivals missed the chance to play this weekend, but it will certainly be a solid matchup.