April 24, 2014

Case ends championship hopes

After hoping to use the built-up momentum from their impressive season to gain a strong showing in the first day of the UAA Championships, No. 17 Chicago fell to No. 10 Case in a 7–2 finish yesterday.

As might be expected, the team found it hard to hide its disappointment.

“I am extremely disappointed from today’s match,” second-year Gordon Zhang said.  “Personally, I did not come out in doubles, and I let my partner [third-year Ankur Bhargava] and team down at the third doubles position. Instead of potentially going up 2–1 after doubles, we went down 2–1.”

Fourth-year Krishna Ravella expressed similar sentiments.

“Today’s match could have gone better. We all competed hard but fell short,” Ravella said.

Even with this disappointment about the squad’s overall performance, the Maroons didn’t allow it to dampen their pride concerning the several successful matches they had.

“Overall, today was very upsetting, but there were some bright spots with [first-year] Max Hawkins winning both his singles and doubles match with Krishna Ravella. Also, [third-year] Deepak Sabada fought extremely hard but ended up losing in three sets to the number one player in the region,” Zhang said.

Chicago’s only wins came from these matches—Hawkins in No. 6 singles and Hawkins and Ravella in No. 2 doubles.

The rest of the Maroons appeared to feel the same way, even moments after the discouraging loss.

“Obviously it is very disappointing for our team to lose our first round match again at the conference tournament, but we will bounce back like we always do and finish the tournament strong. We have two more tough matches coming up, and we want to win both our next matches,” Zhang said.

To get these wins, the team is focusing on the aspects of its game it believes it can improve the most in the short time before the second round of the UAA tournament.

“Moving forward, we are going to focus on getting quick starts,” Ravella said. “We’ve had trouble in the beginning of matches, so we need to work on being ready as soon as the first point is played.”

Zhang added his own spin on the needed improvement.

“What I learned from today is that our team continues to dig ourselves in big holes and try to fight back and win. We have to be the ones that come out firing, which will be key to our success in our next two matches,” Zhang said. “Also I learned that our team does not play with enough positive emotion, which we will continue to work on the rest of the tournament.”

The South Siders are looking forward to the remainder of the UAAs with a determined, positive attitude.

“We are focused on winning our next two matches and hopefully taking fifth place in the tournament. We’ve had a few big wins this season and are still ranked in the top 20 in the country, so we want to show that we deserve to be there,” said Ravella.

Although no longer able to win the tournament, Chicago will begin the second round of the UAA Championships with a match against No. 30 Brandeis today at 1 p.m., which will determine the Maroons’ final opponent on Saturday.