The Maroon men’s tennis team is set to host the five-team NCAA regional this weekend as the number one seed. As the UAA conference winner, the Maroons received an automatic bid to NCAAs. The winner of each NCAA regional championship heads to California to play in the Elite Eight. The Maroons received a bye in the first round and are awaiting the winner of Augustana College and John Carroll University. Both Augustana and John Carroll received automatic bids as they won their respective conferences.
John Carroll and Augustana have much less impressive records along with a weaker strength of schedule compared to Chicago, so it is quite probable that the Maroons will win whichever matchup occurs. Chicago has not played either team so far this season.
In their next match and final round of the regional, the Maroons will presumably play Carnegie Mellon University, a conference rival. The Maroons took down the Tartans two weekends ago 8–1 at the UAA tournament, but the individual matches were quite close, and the Tartans are sure to put up a big fight with an Elite Eight spot on the line. However, Chicago has the weight of last year’s NCAA tournament on their back, as they were massively upset by Gustavus Adolphus College in the round of 16. With a year to stew about that loss, the Maroons are sure to not take any team too lightly and prove that they belong with the best in the country when it counts.
Third-year Charlie Pei feels good about the team’s chances. “We just made history by winning the UAA title by beating Emory, defending national champions, so obviously we feel good. That being said, we need to go back to work this weekend and stay focused because in the end your season is measured mostly by your performance at NCAAs. We were disappointed last year but are more than ready to prove ourselves this year.”
The Maroons play at the Stagg courts this Saturday at 10 a.m.