Both the men’s and women’s squads hopped on a bus and traveled just south of campus this weekend to square off against a Division I team, Chicago State University, at Homewood-Flossmoor Racquet & Fitness Club. Even though they would seem to be disadvantaged based on NCAA Division, both teams came away with decisive victories in their first dual meet of the season. The UChicago women won 5–2 while the men won 6–1.
In singles play for the women, Ariana Iranpour won handily 6–1, 6–2 against her opponent at the number one spot for the Maroons. She was followed by first-year Rachel Kim with a 6–3, 6–4 victory and fourth-year Stephanie Lee who also won easily 6–2, 6–0. First-year Kaela Bynoe was also able to pull out a victory in three sets with a 6–3, 2–6, 10–6 triumph at the four spot. The women also proceeded to sweep Chicago State in all three doubles matches.
After the win, Kim said, “Considering that this was my first match since preseason, I was pleased with the way I played. It was a great feeling to be back on the court competing for our school alongside an incredible group of girls. This win was a great start to our season. We brought great energy to the courts and took down a DI team. Everyone played well today and I couldn’t have been more proud of the way we performed. I am excited for the big things that this season has for the UC women’s tennis team.”
The men complemented the women’s win with a convincing victory of their own. At the number one spot, second-year Nicolas Chua led the team with an impressive two-set win in which his competitor scored no more than three points. He also managed a doubles win with his partner, fellow second-year David Liu, 6–4.
When asked about his performance, Chua said, “It's always nice to start the season winning. We took care of the doubles point, but we definitely had many chances to close it out earlier and more efficiently. As for singles, I was very happy with the way I played, especially for my first match in a while. I didn't get broken throughout the match so I was happy with that, and I did a good job of neutralizing his strong serve. Hopefully I'll continue to improve and I think I have a shot of doing better than last year.”
At the number two spot for the South Siders was second-year Peter Leung who, despite dropping the first set, came back in three sets to defeat his opponent in a third set tiebreak 3–6, 6–4, 7–6 (7–5).
Leung said, “I am very excited with our team's performance. We came off the match with good energy, focus, and discipline. We usually have a great energy boost from our lower lines because of our depth, but we had to deal without it today. Despite this, all of us came out with great fight routing a DI team. The future looks good for us, and I hope we can keep it up and shoot for the title.”
The next match for the men’s team is this coming Sunday, January 31, at Coe College beginning at 11 a.m. The women won’t be on the courts until February 6 at UW–Milwaukee starting at 12:30 p.m.