Sports Shorts 4/3/07: Men’s tennis withers Violets

By Maddi

After taking its lumps in the last two matches, men’s tennis showed that it hasn’t thrown in the towel yet as the squad’s top rookies again stepped up to fill high-profile roles.

After dropping their last two matches to regionally 12th-ranked Luther and regionally 11th-ranked Calvin, the 28th-ranked Maroons looked to come out of this weekend with a win and even their record at .500. With the help of its young talent, the team got back on track and improved its record to 6–6 with a near blanking at home against NYU (1–8) Saturday.

Opening the night with an intimidating sweep in doubles competition, Chicago got an early lead on the Violets and never looked backed. The Maroons have leaned on their tandems all season, and this match proved to be no different with their pairings of first-year Steve Saltarelli and fourth-year Vivek Venkataraman (8–6), first-years Garrett Brinker and Noah Schneider (10–2), and third-years Bharath Sithian and Joseph Tchan (1–0) all cruising to victories for the 3–0 advantage.

Seeking to continue their domination over their visitors, the South Siders kept up the intensity and closed out the match with an overpowering 5–1 effort in singles play. There is no doubt that the talented first-years on the men’s team this year have played a key role in their success this season, and the newcomers did their part once again with strong performances from Saltarelli (6–8), Brinker (8–6), and Schneider (9–5) helping the Maroons to victory.

In Saturday’s showdown, Saltarelli notched a 6–1, 6–2 straight set victory from the third spot with classmates Schneider and Brinker following suit with quick killings of their own. Veterans Venkataraman and Sithian (8–3) delivered more key performances, winning 6–4, 0–6, 1–0 (10–7) and 6–1, 6–0. It was Venkataraman’s first singles win of the year after nine losses.

The team will take on Albion (9–3) at home Saturday at Stagg. They will be looking to win consecutive matches for the first time since February.