March 5, 2015

Tigers tilt kicks off toughest stretch of season

The No. 17 Maroons (7–2) head into this weekend’s matchup against No. 26 DePauw riding a five-game winning streak. At the same time, the Maroons are coming off of a successful weekend in which the squad knocked off its first DI opponent of the season with its victory over UIC.

Much like the Maroons, the DePauw Tigers have had a strong schedule of opponents thus far this season. The Tigers are 4–4, having defeated Principia, Rhodes, Earlham and Vincennes. However, the Tigers have yet to overcome a ranked opponent, falling to No. 5 Wash U and No. 25 UW-Whitewater. DII Indianapolis also proved too much for DePauw, edging the Tigers by a score of 5–4.

Despite its mediocre record, DePauw is always a threat. They have been conference champions three of the past six seasons and have fourth-year NCAC player of the week Chris Bertolini to count on. He picked up two No. 1 doubles wins in addition to three singles wins as he narrowly missed out on an undefeated weekend as he finishing with a 7–9 loss in doubles play against Indianapolis.

The Tigers’ strength in doubles play poses the greatest threat to the Maroons.

“The goal going into this weekend is to be very solid and smart about our doubles play. DePauw is one of the stronger teams we will play and they have great doubles team, so we want to be ready,” said first-year Luke Tsai.

Chicago has recently struggled with the No. 1 doubles position. This slot has been the most inconsistent in the lineup thus far this season, with Hawkins and Tsai earning the No. 1 spot in the past few weeks. The duo was unable to get a win last weekend in matches against UIC and Carroll.

Despite this minor setback, Chicago was 14–2 last weekend and will be looking to carry this, as well as the momentum that comes from a five-game winning streak, into the next phase of the season.

“This match is crucial for us because we want to carry the momentum into spring break, which is probably the most important week of the season,” Tsai said.

Chicago does not have a non-ranked team left on its schedule. The Maroons will head to California during spring break to face off against some of their toughest opponents of the season. This line-up includes DI UCLA, as well as No. 25 Cal Lutheran, No. 23 Whittier, and No. 15 Pomona-Pitzer.

The match against DePauw will take place in Greencastle, IN and will begin at 1 p.m.