Maroons look to continue past success

After two seasons of coming up short, Chicago tries to finally capture National Crown

By Charles Fang

“The only thing we need this year to win it all is to keep our head in the game, every single point, no matter who is on the other side of the court,” says second-year Linden Li. “We all know we deserve it.”

The Maroons’ women’s tennis team is definitely not lacking in confidence as the season begins. After coming so close to the national championship last season, perhaps it is well-deserved.

“I’m really looking forward to the upcoming season,” reveals third-year Jennifer Kung. “We’ve been working hard in practice, and we’ve been doing more conditioning than we did in the past two years.”

Kung captured seventh place at the National Small College Championships last year.

One of the younger teams in recent memory, this year’s women’s squad has only one fourth-year, Chrissy Hu. Hu and third-year doubles partner Kendra Higgins won the doubles title at the 2010 ITA National Small College Championships.

However, the past remains just that, as the Maroons look forward to an exciting season.

“Our first match out will be against UAArival Case Western, so we are hoping to start out strong,” Higgins added.

“We’ve been practicing more than before, with morning, afternoon, and night practices,” Li confirmed, speaking of the team’s determination.

Although the team is young, the Maroons will be returning the same eight women who started last year’s season.

“Though some people may think we have a disadvantage with no new players, I think we have an advantage since we all know how to play together as a team, both off and on the court,” contends Li.

“We all are very comfortable playing with one another and know each other’s games like the back of our hands,” says Higgins, a previous NCAA champion. “We do not have a young team anymore, and this experience will hopefully increase our success during the upcoming season.”

After the success of Higgins and Hu as doubles champions, the team changed its number two and three doubles teams in order to maintain solidity throughout.

“Last year, we weren’t as dominant in doubles as we would have liked, particularly against the top teams,” explained Kung.

“It’ll be great to see our hard work pay off when we start playing matches. We had a great fall season with strong results in singles and doubles, so we’re definitely hoping to continue that success. We need to stay confident and keep fighting for every point in our matches. We only fell a little bit short of the national title the last two years, so we know that we have what it takes to win it all,” Kung stated.

Higgins concluded, “Each match gets harder each year and I’m proud of how we have handled this adversity. Just like last year, our main goal is to win a team national championship. We know that without determination and participation from everyone we will not be able to reach goal.