With the men ranked fourth and the women eighth nationally, all eyes are turned toward the University of Chicago tennis program and its perennial stars. Let’s begin with a recap of last season. In the Division III NCAA postseason, the women fell short in the quarterfinals, losing to conference rival Emory 5–0. The women placed second, again to Emory, last year in the University Athletic Association (UAA). The men were bounced by Claremont, 5–1, from the DIII playoffs in the NCAA semifinals. Following a UAA championship victory in 2018, the Maroon men failed to bring home the trophy in 2019, landing in third place. This season opened on January 25, when the Maroon men and women marched to Lewis University to take on the Flyers.
Despite the absence of masterful fourth-year Marjorie Antohi, the women trampled the Lewis Flyers, taking all nine matches. The doubles players laced all three matches with tremendous effort from partners second-year Lauren Park and third-year Catherine Xu and the duo of first-year Brigitte Wu and second-year Eugenia Lee. Look out for first-year Perene Wang, who gave up only one point in her two-set match.
With prominent veterans like singles star Jeremy Yuan and doubles partners Tyler Raclin and Ninan Kumar, the men put up an 8–1 score against Lewis. UAA Rookie of the Year in 2018 and a DIII All-American in 2019, Yuan started off the season by winning both sets in his singles match at Lewis. After a deuce, the doubles team of Raclin and Kumar rallied and slammed the competition in an 8–6 winning set. The men’s squad excelled with an impressive showing by Alejandro Rodriguez, who beat his opponent 11–9 to win the decisive third set.
The tennis program has experience unprecedented success thanks to the wealth of talent and the leadership of head coach Jay Tee and assistant coach Kris Powell. This professional and coaching pair has fielded nationally competitive teams for the past eight years. Given the current rankings of the men and women’s teams and the schedule ahead, the Maroons look to be the favorites in most of their matches. For the women, look forward to their match against No. 28 Hope University on February 15. On the same day, the men face off against No. 29 Kalamazoo. From February 28 to March 1, the women’s team will compete for the ITA DIII National Championship in Danville, KY. For the men, the ITA National Championship takes place in St. Peter, MN, between February 21 and 23. The tennis program on the South Side has no lack for talent nor skill. If these student-athletes can stay healthy, few opponents will be able to match up with the mighty Maroons.