Tennis teams served mixed results

By John Latella

The University of Chicago men’s and women’s tennis teams finished up their regular seasons this weekend at the University Athletic Association championships. The team’s performances were in many ways as expected, with the Maroon men taking eighth place and the women taking sixth. Despite the overall score being poor, the results were better than the record might tell.

In men’s singles, first-year Vivek Venkataraman went a disappointing 0-3, though he battled in a number of close first-singles matches. In his quarterfinal match-up, Venkataraman was taken into the third set after taking the first set 7-6 (7-3) and falling in the second 6-3. The usual 10-point tie-breaker used during the season was replaced with a full third set for the tournament, and the fatigue of the previous two sets was a big reason for Venkataraman’s 6-4 defeat in the third.

“It was really tough on all of us. My last match was against the worst guy of anyone I’d hit, but by then I was just gone,” Venkataraman said.

The rest of the team faced many of the same issues, as they lost five three-set matches on the weekend. They came out on the losing end for most of the weekend, losing to Carnegie Mellon 7-0 in the quarterfinal match, 6-1 to Brandeis in the consolation semifinal match, and 6-0 to Case Western in the singles-only seventh place match.

Only first-year Stephane Levy, who ended up with the team’s best record at 15-7, and the doubles tandem of Venkataraman and second-year George Anesi picked up victories.

The women’s team continued their improvement in their conference championship, finishing sixth in the UAA. The team was led by first-year Ade Omodele-Lucien, who went 1-2 in singles play and 2-1 in doubles play.

The team suffered a loss to Brandeis University 7-1 in the quarterfinals, and followed that up with an 8-1 victory over Rochester in the consolation semifinal. The victory earned the Maroons a spot in the fifth-place match against NYU, which they lost 6-3.

The women’s team has now improved in each of the last three years at the UAA conference championships, going from an eighth place finish in 2002 and seventh place in 2003 to their current spot. All but one player is expected to return to the team.

“I’m really excited about our team because we keep improving. We have grown so much from last year, and we have a lot more time together,” said second-year Katie Dulmage, who pulled in two doubles victories along with a singles win in her five complete matches.

In light of the Maroon tennis teams’ latest pushes towards Division III prominence, the teams stand to improve markedly on their performances this season. With the addition of promising recruits to an experienced set of players and a well liked coaching staff, the Maroons hope that successive years bring improvement in the UAA and in non-conference play.