April 16, 2010

Men's tennis aces last home match

Men’s tennis wrapped up their home season on Wednesday with a comprehensive win as the Maroons dominated 9–0 over North Central. In their final tune-up of the season before they head to Pittsburgh next Friday to compete in the UAA Championships, the Maroons showed that they are in fine form as they swept the Cardinals in both singles and doubles play, losing just one set in the process.

The sole set won by a Cardinal player came during the highlight of the evening when third-year Will Zhang, ranked 10th in the region going into the match, defeated third-ranked Sam Sweeney in the first match of singles play. After surrendering the first set to Sweeney 3–6, Zhang came back to claim a tight second set 7–6, before securing victory in the tiebreaker 1–0 (12–10).

“I was struggling a little in the winter, but it definitely feels good to be playing up to my level again,” Zhang said. “Sweeney is a tough player, and I really had to play well to beat him.”

The rest of the Maroons followed the lead set by Zhang as fourth-years Garrett Brinker and Steve Saltarelli, third-year Kunal Pawa, second-year Troy Brinker, and first-year Harrison Abrams all won their singles matches without losing a single set. The pairings of Abrams and Pawa, Brinker and second-year Jan Stefanski, and Saltarelli and first-year Dragos Calugar did similar work in the doubles matches, giving Chicago the sweep.

“We’re on a nine-match winning streak, so our momentum going into UAAs is just tremendous,” Zhang said. “We just need to put it all together for the tournament, and each individual match will be important.”

The 15th nationally ranked Maroons improved to a 12–5 record and will now have a short break from competitive play as they prepare themselves for the regional championships.

“Going forward into UAAs, I think we have a lot to look forward to,” Zhang continued. “The UAA conference will be very deep and competitive this year. Our team has played well and competed hard [throughout the season], so I think we’re in a great position to do well at UAAs.”

“Our one goal is absolutely to win the tournament,” he added.

The regional championships will be held next Friday through Sunday, April 23—25 at Carnegie.