The University of Chicago men’s tennis team finished strong at last week’s UAA championships, meeting expectations as a No. 3 coming away with a third-place finish. The Maroons (17–4) started off the competition strong, easily outpacing the No. 6 NYU Violets 8–1. The Maroons only lost the No. 1 singles game, and cruised to easy victories in the rest of their matches.
The Maroons then advanced to the UAA semifinals to play the rival Wash U Bears, and ultimately dropped the decision 6–3. The South Siders came up empty on all three doubles matches, but had a few bright spots on the singles side. No. 1 third-year Nicolas Chua defeated his Wash U counterpart Johnny Wu (6–4, 6–3). No. 2 first-year Erik Kerrigan (7–5, 4–6, 7–6 (7–3)) and No. 5 third-year Peter Leung (6–2, 7–5) also picked up singles victories.
UChicago had a chance for redemption, playing in the third-place contest against the Carnegie Mellon University Tartans. The Maroons again relied on their strong singles play, as they won every match except the No. 4 singles. First-year Tyler Raclin and fourth-year Max Hawkins picked up the South Siders’ lone doubles victory. UChicago triumphed over the Tartans, 6–3.
One star of the weekend was Kerrigan, a former four-star recruit. Kerrigan went 3–0 in his singles matches as the No. 2 over the weekend, clinched their third-place finish, and also picked up one of the Maroons’ four doubles victories.
Kerrigan reflected on the weekend, saying, “Overall, I think we’re pretty happy with how the weekend turned out. Obviously it hurts to lose a tough one to Wash U in the semis, especially knowing that we didn’t perform our best, but I’m really proud of how we bounced back against CMU. The team did a really good job of not letting the 1–2 deficit after doubles carry into singles, and everyone brought the energy to carry us over. Personally, I’m really glad I had the opportunity to clinch in our final match, and after a long battle the day prior, winning another third set really felt good for myself and the team. However, this was a team victory 100 percent. This is the most energy I’ve seen this team bring, especially after a bad day prior.”
The No. 5 Maroons now look ahead to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament, where a strong UAA slate of competition has prepared them to make a deep run. The UAA currently has four teams in the top 10 nationally, and an additional fifth in the top 25.
Kerrigan looked ahead to the tournament, saying, “I think we’ve done a great job of putting ourselves into position for an at large bid for NCAAs, and we’re going to get right back out there working for it. I think our team has been improving the whole time this year, and hopefully we can keep that up and finish out the year strong, and I know that we can bring home that NCAA title if we can all lock in as a team.”
The Maroons are still awaiting their NCAA tournament fate.