February 6, 2014

First DIII competition awaits on two-day road trip

After introducing a new training regime and facing a DI school for their first match of the season, No. 8 Chicago will be traveling to Granville and Gambier, OH, to face two schools in its division.

“Playing Illinois last weekend was a great way to begin competition this quarter,” second-year Sruthi Ramaswami said. “We all played very challenging matches, which showed us how we’re just as able to compete at [high levels of competition]. Having that confidence moving forward will serve us well.”

Chicago has been working hard since its match against the Fighting Illini, continuing a new workout regime the team implemented starting this year.

“I felt like last week was one of our best weeks of practice since I’ve been here,” head coach Jay Tee said. “I think the team can see their improvement and it has motivated them to put in extra time and effort on the court and in the weight room. Additionally, we learned that we play much better when we are having fun and not worried about the outcome. That will be much tougher to do as we play matches with more on the line, but it will be important for us to find that mindset throughout the year.”

The team decided the new regime was necessary after the South Siders lost in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III Championships.

“We came off last season with a good sense of where we need to improve with our fitness and have been working to get faster and stronger,” Ramaswami said.

Both players and coaches recognize the work needed for the new regime, as well as the results that have come with the added workouts.

“It’s a credit to the girls for sacrificing a few extra hours per week in order to be a better team in March and April. After only two weeks I’ve already noticed a change in the team. We’re more defined and in better shape, and [that] has had a positive impact on the court,” Tee said.

This weekend, the Maroons will travel to take on the No. 30 Denison University Big Red in Granville and the Kenyon College Lords in Gambier.

“Denison did very well in regionals last year, so our 8–1 win against them was definitely unexpected, but a great confidence boost,” third-year Kelsey McGillis said. “They are always a solid team, so we will not go into this weekend underestimating them. This doubleheader will give us the opportunity to show off our hard work both on and off the court.”

Matches begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday against Denison and 9 a.m. on Sunday against Kenyon.