February 20, 2007

Sports Shorts: 2/20/07 Men's tennis takes Little Giants down another size

Led by a fresh crop of rookies, men’s tennis came out in full force Saturday to overpowered two regionally-ranked foes.

The sweep in Crawfordsville, IN evened the Maroons’ record at 3–3 and marked the end of a three-match losing skid. The squad dropped a pair of tight matches last weekend against two nationally-ranked programs.

Starting the day against Wooster (1–1), Chicago squashed the Fighting Scots 8–1 with five straight-set victories in singles and slammed the door with a sweep in doubles competition. First-years Steve Saltarelli, Grant Brinker, and Noah Schneider provided the bulk of the lineup’s muscle, with Saltarelli and Brinker winning their starts in the two top spots.

After losing his three previous bouts at first singles, Saltarelli notched his first win at first singles with a 6–1, 6–4 blow leveled against fourth-year Will Morrison. With equally impressive outings, Brinker dealt third-year Grant D’Augustine a 6–1, 6–2 loss while Schneider took down second-year Pat Grab 6–2, 6–4 at fourth singles.

The freshmen continued to dominate in doubles contest against Wooster before going on to steamroll host Wabash (3–3) in a 9–0 shutout. Mixing up the lineup at singles against the Little Giants, Brinker and Schneider stepped up into the first and second slots, and classmate Peter Zhang got his first start of the winter as the squad went on to claim five of the showdowns in straight sets.

Deciding to stick with its original recipe for success for partners play, the Maroons sent the same tandems from earlier in the day back to the court. The duos of Saltarelli and fourth-year Vivke Venkataraman, Brinker and Schneider, and third-year Joseph Tchan and second-year Alex Winney continued to carry Chicago in doubles contests. The three killer combos have combined for 18 of the squad’s 19 wins on the doubles court.

Regionally ninth-ranked Chicago returns to action after a two week break when the squad travels to face Kalamazoo March 2.