Sports Shorts: Big day for Farrell, men’s tennis at Chicago State Invite

By Joe Katz

Competing against an array of local teams, men’s tennis held their own.

In their first-ever appearance at the Chicago State Invite over the weekend, the Maroons posted a 7–12 mark in singles matches. First-year Connor Farrell grabbed two of the wins, holding off South Dakota State first-year Dusty Antoine 6–1, 6–4 and handling Ferris State third-year Kevin Brundle 6–3, 6–1 in route to a 2–2 mark for the tourney. It was the first collegiate competition for Farrell, who was held out of last weekend’s ITA Regional.

Third-year Vivek Venkatarman; second-years Sasha Deriy, Bharath Sithian, and Joseph Tchan; and first-year Alex Winney also picked up singles wins for the Maroons. Fourth-year returning All-American Ward Bortz, the team’s number one singles player, put up a solid effort in his first scheduled match against Eastern Illinois third-year Charles LeVaque, falling 7–5, 6–2, and was unable to continue due a shoulder injury.

The team did not perform quite as solidly in the doubles flights. Bortz and Deriy lost both of their matches, as did the pairing of Farrell and Venkatarman. Tchan and Winney dropped an 8–2 decision to Eastern Illinois third-year Ryan Blakenbaker and first-year Jordan Nestrud, but whipped the South Dakota State first-year Carson Dinger and fourth-year Ihab Hallaweish by the same margin.

The tournament was the last competition of the abbreviated fall season for the Maroons. Official practices will resume after winter break, and the team will return to action with a dual meet at home against Illinois-Springfield on January 28.