March 2, 2012

In Greencastle, a quest to rule the court

Chicago (4–1) will be competing in the Indoor Tennis Association (ITA) Championships at DePauw in Greencastle, Indiana this weekend. The seven other schools competing are: Carnegie Mellon, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, Denison, DePauw, Johns Hopkins, Washington and Lee, and Wash U. Last year, the Maroons finished second behind Emory.

Since Emory is not competing this year, the Maroons are the top seed heading into the tournament. Williams and Amherst, the top-ranked and second-ranked DIII teams, are also not competing. Fourth-year co-captain Jen Kung said that Chicago’s biggest opponents in the tournament are Washington and Lee, Carnegie Mellon, and Johns Hopkins.

“All three teams did well in the fall and have added several talented freshmen to their lineups, so I think they’ll all be much better than they were last year,” Kung said.

Teams are chosen to compete at the ITA Championships based on ITA national rankings from the previous season. NCAA DIII teams who wish to play in the tournament must bid for the spots, and the top eight teams within the criteria are chosen to play. An exception is made if the team hosting the event has a lower rank.

Chicago’s first match will be against DePauw. Earlier this season, the Maroons beat DePauw 8–1.

The Maroons are excited for the competition.

“We’re going to get tested at Indoors, especially in the semis and finals, assuming we get that far, and if we want to finish as national champions this weekend, we’ll need to step up during those tough matches,” Kung said.

A victory in the first match would lead to semifinals. A victory there would lead them to the finals.

“We’ve been working hard at doubles all year, so that will be one of our strengths going into the tournament. We’re all also excellent singles players, so I expect us to do well in singles too. I guess one thing we want to keep improving is our ability to compete well even in high-pressure situations,” Kung said.

Their first match of the tournament is Friday at 3:30 p.m.