April 6, 2012

Maroons aim for Midwest fourpeat

The Maroons’ tennis squad will compete in the Midwest Invitational on Friday and Saturday in Madison, Wisconsin. The Maroons have recently been very successful at the invitational, winning the team title each of the past three years.

Fourth-year and co-captain Jen Kung said the Maroons’ biggest opponents in the Midwest Invitational are Denison, DePauw, and Washington University in St. Louis, the other top-ranked teams in the region.

“Going into this tournament, we want to maintain our competitive mentality no matter who we play. We want to close out matches when we are ahead, and stay especially aggressive in doubles play,” first-year Megan Tang said.

In terms of strategy, Kung said the team does not plan to do anything differently than they have in the past. For the last few weeks, the team has been playing outdoors, but they will have to re-familiarize themselves with indoor courts for the Midwest Invitational. Nevertheless, they plan to play aggressively and focus on doubles.

In order to prepare for the upcoming matches, the team played in five matches over the break in South Carolina. They played Charleston and Coastal Georgia on Sunday, and North Carolina Wesleyan on Monday. The Maroons lost to Charleston 0–7 but defeated both Coastal Georgia and North Carolina Wesleyan 9–0.

On Wednesday and Saturday, they faced Carleton and Coastal Carolina. The Maroons defeated Carleton 9–0, but lost to Coastal Carolina 0–6.

“We didn’t play our best at first, but we improved with every match. Though we ended the week with a loss, I think we learned a lot during our Division I matches about the things we need to work on before UAAs and NCAAs,” Kung said.

In past Midwest Invitational tournaments, Chicago has played Denison for the title. However, both Kung and Tang said they thought the team’s biggest opponent this year would be DePauw.

The Maroons got off to a successful start this season, defeating a string of Division III Midwestern schools, including DePauw. When the Maroons first played the Tigers, they won 8–1, but lost to DePauw in the ITA Indoor Championships, placing fifth to DePauw’s third. Since the match was extremely close, the team is not willing to discount DePauw as a competitor.

“Going into this tournament, we will not underestimate any team, and each of us will grind hard to win our own match and solidify our team win, especially in doubles,” third-year Linden Li said.