Men’s Tennis Secures NCAA Division III Regional Title

The Men’s Tennis team finishes their fourth NCAA DIII Championships with a Regional Title.

By Matthew Lee, Co-Editor-in-Chief

The 2019 season is sure to be a memorable one for the University of Chicago’s men’s tennis teams. Over the weekend, the Maroon men captured a NCAA Division III Regional Title to secure their fourth appearance at the NCAA DIII Championships in a row. 

First to fall at this weekend’s contests was Augustana, which was routed 5–0. Fresh from their first-round bye, men’s doubles squads led the Saturday afternoon onslaught. The duo of third-years Erik Kerrigan and Ninan Kumar and the pair of third-year Tyler Raclin and second-year Jeremy Yuan each won their bouts 8–2. Later, fourth-year Charlie Pei and his partner first-year Joshua Xu won their own matchup 8–5. In singles, second-year Alejandro Rodriguez and first-year Alex Guzhva both brought home dominant wins, 6–0, 6–0 and 6–1, 6–0 respectively.

Sunday’s opponent, Gustavus Adolphus College, suffered a similar fate. Though the Maroons lost two singles matches, victories by fourth-year Charlie Pei (6–1, 6–2), and first-year Joshua Xu (7–5, 6–2) meant the Maroons and their Gustavus Adolphus foes were tied 2–2 heading into doubles. There, the Maroons proved dominant, sweeping all three matches. Kerrigan and Kumar (8–4), Pei and Xu (8–7 (8–6)), and Raclin and Yuan (8–6) ensured that the Maroons seized victory against their Gustavus Adolphus foes by a final tally of 5–2.

Having qualified for the NCAA DIII Championships, the Maroons face powerhouse Amherst College at the quarterfinals on May 20. The upcoming championship matches are sure to have special significance for Maroon tennis’s graduating fourth-years, Li, Liu, and Pei. 

Entering the last games of his collegiate career, Li recorded a cumulative singles record of 11–3 and a doubles record of 2–1. Li has qualified for UAA All-Academic team for three consecutive years. In addition, during the 2017–18 season, Li was honored as an ITA Scholar-Athlete.

Max Liu finished 22–4 in singles and 3–2 in doubles. Also a UAA All-Academic team member since his second year, Max’s first-year season was one to remember: He finished 19–4 in singles and 3–2 in doubles, an achievement that would bring him to the singles final of the 2015 ITA Central Region Championships.

With a record of 56–22 in singles and 48–20 in doubles, Charlie Pei has proven to be an indispensable member of Maroon men’s tennis for four years straight. As a first-year, Charlie Pei was 22–9 in singles and 20–9 in doubles. In recognition of his performance, the UAA named him Athlete of the Week—not once, but twice. In his second year, Charlie recorded a 17–8 singles record and a 21–5 doubles record and was named UAA athlete of the week. And in his third year, with a record of 17–5 in singles and 7–6 in doubles, Pei was named Second Team All-UAA, UAA All-Academic, and ITA Scholar-Athlete. Pei was also afforded an invitation to the UAA All-Tournament Team. This season, Pei, along with his first-year partner Joshua Xu qualified for the ITA Central Region doubles finals. In addition, Pei was named UAA Athlete of the Week on April 1, 2019. As he prepares to face Amherst in the quarterfinals, Pei can only add to his already storied season and strong career.