April 16, 2015

Rival WashU looms for South Siders

The No. 15-ranked Maroons are looking forward to some home cooking this weekend as they finish off the season at Stagg Court against Wheaton. This game marks the end of the regular season as they prepare for the post season.

Chicago is preparing for a number of firsts this weekend, as it faces off against Wheaton for the first time this season. The Thunder bring their 13–5 record to Hyde Park as they try to knock off the South Siders. Wheaton has won three out of their last six matches since last month and will try and add to its winning ways.

The South Siders are coming off of last weekend having knocked off two ranked teams, No. 38 Texas-Tyler and No. 28 UW–Whitewater. The squad fell by a narrow margin to No. 11 Wash U, bringing their season record to 10–9. Over the weekend, second-year Tiffany Chen proved a steady anchor for the squad, going undefeated through her three singles matches and dropping only a singular doubles match with partner first-year Courtney Warren.

The match-up against Wheaton will be the first non-ranked opponent the Maroons have faced since their 9–0 shutout of Kenyon in early February.

Fourth-year Maggie Schumann relishes the competitive opportunity that the Thunder present for the Maroons.  “We always have good competitive matches with Wheaton so it should be great preparation for UAA’s next week,” Schumann says.

Chicago is also looking forward to playing their first home match of the year on Stagg Court. After traveling around the country to play matches all season, the Maroons are looking forward to finally playing at home.

“I’m excited to finally get to play with more than one fan watching! Aside from all the technical advantages of being on our home courts, like knowing the court speed etc.,” says Warren. “I think our biggest advantage is going to come from the support of our friends coming out to watch. We love cheering for each other every week when we travel, but some new fans will definitely bring some new energy.”

Playing at home is an advantage for any team and the Maroons are looking to capitalize on it against the Thunder. Not only will crowd support be a major advantage, but friendly conditions on a familiar court will be as well.

“Playing at home is always a great advantage for us since we know the conditions well, like the wind and ambient noise. Plus it’s great to have the UC support at home,” Schumann said.

Look for the Maroons to take advantage of the familiarity of their home court conditions and use it against the Thunder this weekend. The familiarity of playing on a court that you practice on every day brings an advantage that cannot be understated.

The Maroons look to use this match as a springboard to prepare for the postseason. Led by the duo of first-year Ariana Iranpour at No. 1 singles and veteran fourth-year Megan Tang at No. 2 singles, who also pair to make the squad’s No. 1 doubles, Chicago’s depth is daunting for the most competitive of programs.

With the UAA Championships and NCAA tournament looming, Chicago is looking to go into the postseason with experience and momentum. The Thunder should provide sufficient competition for the Maroons to prepare for the postseason. The Maroons are looking toward the postseason with great optimism as the team is coming together at the right time.

“Our team is coming together unbelievably well going into the UAA tournament,” Warren said.

Looking to build off of the success developed by playing top tier teams, the Maroons will begin the final push towards the postseason.

The squad kicks off play against Wheaton at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Stagg Courts.