This weekend, the Chicago men’s tennis team headed to Janesville, WI to play three tough matches against nationally ranked opponents. They rebounded from a tough loss to No. 8 ranked Gustavus Adolphus College to defeat both No. 10 Wash U and UW–Whitewater.
The Gusties have been a thorn in the Maroons’ side since they upset Chicago in the round of 16 of NCAAs last spring, and unfortunately, Chicago was unable to overcome them again, dropping a hotly contested match 6–3. The doubles matches were very close, with two of three pro sets going to a breaker. Chicago came out on top in one match but headed into singles play down 1–2. The singles matches were similarly close, with four of six matches going to three sets. The top of the lineup dropped their matches in straight sets but the bottom four were absolute dogfights. Unfortunately, only fourth-year Nicolas Chua and third-year Charlie Pei were able to pull out wins. While obviously this was disappointing, the Maroons had to rebound quickly as they had a rivalry match with Wash U the next day.
On day two of their trip, the Maroons came out ready to play. They began their match with a doubles sweep, highlighted by an 8–0 dominating win by Pei and fourth-year Bobby Bethke in doubles. Heading into singles up 3–0, the Maroons had a comfortable lead that they quickly consolidated to clinch the win. Second-year Erik Kerrigan and Chua took their respective matches in a third-set breaker to put the team ahead 5–0. Pei also won in three sets, and fourth-year Luke Tsai and first-year Jeremy Yuan won in straight sets to lead the team to a 7–2 victory. This is the second time the Maroons have defeated Wash U; their first win came against them at the ITA National Indoor Championship and they won 6–3.
On the final day of competition, Chicago blanked the UW–Whitewater Hawks 9–0. Chicago once again swept doubles with ease, and singles also was a relatively straightforward affair as Kerrigan, Chua, Yuan, second-year Jaird Meyer and first-year Alejandro Rodriguez won in straight sets. Tsai won in straights but in two tiebreakers.
Reflecting on the weekend, Tsai believes the team took some knocks but learned a lot. “Obviously we would have preferred to beat Gustavus especially considering our history with them but I think that this loss will only fuel our fire for the rest of the season. Regular season is over for us and all we have left is conference play and then NCAAs so there is no more messing around. If we can bring the attitude and fight we showed against Wash to every match then there really aren’t a lot of teams who can stop us.”
The team heads to Valparaiso University, a DI school, this Saturday and will play in the UAA conference tournament the following week.