March 10, 2014

Chicago gets caught in Tigers’ trap in Burr Ridge, IL

After defeating the DePauw Tigers (7–2) 5–4 a week ago, Chicago (5–3) dropped their second matchup of the year against one of their most heated rivals over the weekend.

In matches last year and this year, Chicago bested the Tigers 5–4, but on Saturday’s Alumni and Parents Night, the Maroons fell to DePauw 6–3. Chicago was without second-year Sruthi Ramaswami, who had played in both the No. 5 singles match and the No. 2 doubles match of their previous two matchups.

“We were missing Sruthi at No. 5, who has been a crucial player in our past two victories against DePauw. That’s not to say that the rest of the girls on the team aren't fighters as well; they most certainly are, but I think when DePauw learned that Sruthi was out of the lineup, they were even more determined to beat us,” third-year Megan Tang said.

During the ITA Nationals a week ago Chicago dropped two of three doubles matches, but won four of the six singles matches to defeat DePauw by a slim margin. Without Ramaswami, Chicago still convincingly won the No. 1 doubles match 8–4 but lost the No. 2 and No. 3 matches, with DePauw getting by in the latter match 9–8.

“We need to do a better job of asking ourselves ‘when we are winning points, why are we successful?’ and ‘when we are losing points, why are we losing?’  It’s a matter of figuring that out and then either making a change, or continuing to do the right things,” head coach Jay Tee said.

In singles, the results were largely similar to those at ITA Nationals. Tang and first-year Tiffany Chen won their matches at No. 1 and No. 3, respectively, while second-year Helen Sdvizhkov lost her matchup at the No. 2 spot. At No. 4, third-year Kelsey McGillis, who had won her match a week ago, was pitted against a different DePauw player, taking her opponent to three sets but eventually losing. Without Ramaswami, Chicago’s lineup at the No. 5 and 6 spots were quite different, and DePauw managed to win the remaining two matches en route to their 6–3 victory.

Though the No. 9-ranked Maroons are now 5–3 and dropped a rank, they are looking forward to the future rather than the present

“We’re not concerned with our rankings in March.  What matters to us is where we finish.  If we take a couple of losses early that make us better in May, we’re OK with that,” Tee said.

Currently the Maroons are preparing for spring break, which will feature a trip to California where they will play No. 4 Claremont M.S. on March 23, No. 1 Williams on March 27, and No. 5 Middlebury on March 28.

“I think our spring break trip is going to be challenging, but also a lot of fun. We have nothing to lose against these top schools, so we should go into every match with the mindset of playing offensively and using what we've learned in practice,” Tang said.