SPORTS

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January 23, 2009

Struggles continue against Northwestern

After their second test against major D-I opponents, men’s tennis (0–2) is still searching for its first win following a 7–0 blanking by Northwestern (2–0).

Two matches deep into an early season heavy with higher division competition, the 25th-ranked Maroons have yet to win a singles or doubles match.

Of all Chicago athletes, third-year Lado Bakhutashvili came closest to a victory, losing in two sets but managing to win more games than any of his teammates, as he fell 6–4, 6–4 in the second singles slot.

Second-year Will Zhang lost 6–1, 6–3 at the top slot, while third-year Garrett Brinker took a 6–0, 6–2 defeat at third singles. First-year Jan Stefanski, and second-years Mark Bonner and Paul Namkoong rounded out the singles lineup with losses.

In doubles action, Brinker and third-year Steve Saltarelli suffered an 8–4 loss at first doubles, while Bakhutasvili and Stefanksi got the same result in the second spot. Zhang and first-year Troy Brinker lost 8–2 at third doubles to round out the Maroons performances.

Sunday’s match marked the second of four appearances Chicago has scheduled against DI foes this year. The South Siders lost to DePaul (3–0) in their season debut, and will host Chicago State in two weeks before squaring off against the Citadel on their spring break trip to Hilton Head, S.C. The Maroons topped Chicago State 6–3 in last year’s meeting.

Even with two losses to start the season, matches against DI opponents do not figure into DIII rankings, and so Chicago will likely still enjoy its top-25 status when it plays host to UW–Whitewater in its DIII and home debut next Saturday. Last year’s squad used its D-I experience to launch into D-III play, where it compiled an 11–5 record.