After taking a big knock to start the season, 14th-ranked women’s tennis rebounded with a convincing victory to split its opening weekend.
Taking on a big challenge for the first match of the year, the 14th-ranked Maroons hosted DI program Northern Illinois and were slapped with a 7–0 shutout as a delay in the start kept the squads playing late into Friday night.
Struggling to keep up with the Huskies, Chicago managed to get the best of its visitors just once with second-year Vinday Dayananda and first-year Michelle Lee chipping in a win at first doubles. The pair eked out an 8–6 victory over second-years Lilian Asuaje and Nao Umemura, but the remaining tandems of second-year Anuja Parikh with fourth-year Ade Omodele-Lucien and third-year Michele Parad with first-year Justine Kentla couldn’t keep up with their foes across the net.
The South Siders got swept out of singles play quickly, with all but two Maroons avoiding falling to the Huskies in straight sets. Kentla and fellow first-year Marissa Lin dodged that fate after each managed to rebound from the first bout.
Competing at the second spot in the lineup, Lin went down 6–1 in the opening set against second-year Jenny Edner, but then the rookie turned the tables on her opponent when she nailed a 6–1 decision in her favor. Lin couldn’t strike the final nail in the coffin, though, and came up short in the final set at 7–5. Kentla kept things close at sixth singles with a tight 6–4 win over fourth-year Megan Brooks after getting edged 7–5 to start the match. The setback didn’t shut the door on Brooks, however, and Kentla dropped the deciding round 10–5.
Back on the court Sunday against Kalamazoo (0–1), Chicago got a confidence boost after the pounding from Northern Illinois with its solid 7–2 victory over the Hornets. This time around the Maroons won all but one of their singles showdowns and came out on the losing end in just one of the partners contests.
Tearing through the Kalamazoo lineup, the South Siders claimed four of their five decisions in solo play in straight sets. Lin competed at the top spot with, Dayananda bumping down to number two for the day. They teamed up at first doubles and rekindled the chemistry that they struck up at the ITA Regionals back in October with an 8–5 edging. Parikh and Omodele-Lucien paired up again and got a win under their belts, holding on to an 8–6 advantage.
Chicago’s tandems will continue to work on finding their grooves when they travel to Gambier, Ohio to square off against 28th-ranked Kenyon and 16th-ranked Denison this weekend.