Weekend brings fourth place finish for No. 15 Chicago

Despite disappointing losses, Chicago is confident heading into the NCAA tournament selection show.

By Max Hawkins

In the hot and humid conditions of Altamonte Springs, FL, the No. 15 Maroons (12–11, 3–4) finished fourth in the UAA tournament.

The Maroons started off the weekend with a rematch against rival No. 21 Case Western (13–7, 3–2). The teams had split victories in the previous two meetings.

“For Case we went in extremely focused, knowing that if we buckled down and played solid tennis we would come out on top,” said second-year Tiffany Chen.

Chicago came out firing in doubles, with third-years Sruthi Ramaswami and Lucy Tang earning a decisive 8–4 victory at No. 3 doubles.  The other two doubles matches came down to the wire: Chen and first-year Courtney Warren closed out an exciting 8–6 win at No. 2 doubles, and first-year Ariana Iranpour and fourth-year Megan Tang followed with another 8–6 victory at No. 1 doubles.

Due to rain delays, the singles play started hours later, but the Maroons used their momentum in doubles to earn quick victories. Megan Tang won 6–0, 6–0 at No. 2 singles, and Chen clinched the match with a 6–2, 6–0 victory at No. 4 singles. Lucy Tang also earned a 6–4, 6–4 victory at No. 5 singles while first-years Jasmine Lee and Iranpour earned hard-fought three-set wins at No. 3 and No. 1 singles, respectively.

In the semifinals, Chicago faced No. 2 Emory (16–3, 3–0). “We were determined to play loose, since we weren’t the favorites to win,” said Chen.

The Eagles came out firing on all cylinders with a quick sweep in doubles followed by straight set victories at Nos. 3, 4, 5, and 6 singles. At No. 2 singles, Megan Tang took the first set 7–5 but ultimately lost in a third-set, 10-point tiebreaker. Meanwhile, Iranpour lost a hard-fought 7–5, 6–4 match at No. 1 singles.

In the third/fourth place playoff, the Maroons looked forward to playing rival No. 11 Wash U (18–5, 2–1) for the fourth time this season. Wash U entered having won two of their previous three meetings. The Maroons started well, but ultimately wavered at No. 2 doubles, losing 8–3. At No. 1 doubles, Iranpour and Megan Tang led 5–4. However, Iranpour was forced to withdraw with an injury. Ramaswami and Lucy Tang lost a tight 8–6 match at No. 3 doubles as momentum swung to Wash U’s corner.

“I think Wash U came into the match really ready for us and we couldn’t quite compete the way we normally do,” said Warren. Without Iranpour for No. 1 singles, Chicago crumbled, losing at Nos. 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6 singles. Chicago’s lone victory came at No. 2 singles, where Lee stepped up and won 7–6, 6–2 to beat the eighth ranked player in the Central region.

Chicago must now wait until next Monday to find out about its postseason fate. In the meantime, it will look to regroup and get healthy to help make a deep run in the NCAA tournament starting Friday, May 8.