Thanks to a focus on its doubles matches, Chicago picked up two wins in its double-header this past weekend.
The Maroons traveled to Granville and Gambier to play the Denison University Big Red and the Kenyon College Ladies in their second and third matches of the season, respectively. Chicago won handily, going 7–2 against Denison and 9–0 against Kenyon after opening the season against a DI school.
“From playing [University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign], the team gained a lot of confidence going into the season because we found we weren’t far off from keeping up with a DI school. Of course, the two matches were different because we were the favorite against Denison and Kenyon,” first-year Tiffany Chen said.
The No. 8 Maroons lived up to expectations, beating Denison for the second year in a row. The play, however, was more competitive than the stat sheet showed.
“The girls on the Denison and Kenyon teams were persistent and scrappy—every ball came back and you needed to focus on staying consistent during long rallies,” second-year Helen Sdvizhkov said.
Against Denison, the South Siders won their first singles match before dropping the next two. Third-year Kelsey McGillis, second-year Sruthi Ramaswami, and first-year Jordan Appel won the next three consecutive matches to bring the team’s final singles records to 4–2, though what won the day for Chicago were the three doubles matches.
“We didn’t shrink during the biggest moments and instead continued to attack, which led to a positive outcome for the team,” head coach Jay Tee said. “Our doubles is much improved from a year ago and I think we were able to take some of the things that made Illinois a good doubles team and apply it to our own game. Going 6–0 in doubles against two quality teams is something we’ve been striving for since last year.”
The women’s tennis team has decided to not only improve on its technique this year, but also give itself a more difficult workout regimen.
“Any newcomer would not be able to tell that we have only been practicing for several weeks. No matter how early, practices are always very focused and intense, with everyone staying active, alert, and competitive,” Sdivzhkov said. “Everybody works well together and is dedicated to our overall success, which creates the kind of dynamic necessary to stand out not just as individual players, but as a close-knit team.”
The success translates further onto the court, even with a dearth of upperclassmen.
“The girls have really come together well. Despite a lack of seniors and four new first-years, the team has blended well. They get along great off the court and play for each other on it,” Tee said.
Chicago will travel to Michigan in two weeks to play the Kalamazoo Hornets on February 23, with the action starting at 1 p.m. EST.