Tennis tandem, Staloch and Chui, win ITA regionals

Members of the Carnegie Mellon women’s tennis team competed at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) regional tournament at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va., Saturday, Sept. 22 through Monday, Sept. 24. The players were bidding for a spot in the ITA National Small College Championships at Florida Gulf Coast University, to be held Oct. 11–14.

The Carnegie Mellon first-years continued to make a splash early in the season. Jennifer Chui, Kelly Hart, and Brooke Loar all won two matches on the first day of play to advance to the round of 16. The doubles team of Chui and senior Amy Staloch got through to the quarterfinals of the doubles tournament on the first day of the tournament as well.

On the second day of play, Hart looked like the third seed in her 6–2, 6–1 win over the actual third seed, Stephanie Kurti of Mary Washington. Hart’s surprising run ended in the quarterfinals, though, with a 6–4, 1–6, 1–6 loss. Loar lost a close match 6–7 (6), 5–7 and was eliminated in the round of 16.
Staloch and Chui both advanced to the quarterfinals. However, one of them could not advance past this stage — the draw had fated them to play each other. Putting aside their doubles partnership temporarily, Staloch prevailed 6–2, 6–4 over Chui to advance to the semifinals.

“My personal goal for my senior year of tennis is to play every match with a good attitude,” Staloch said. “It will be my last opportunity to play at this level in this environment, and I don’t want to have regrets about matches I didn’t give my all to.”

Staloch and Chui proved unstoppable when on the same side of the net. On the second day of the tournament, they won two matches 8–4 and 8–5 to advance to the final of the doubles competition.

On the third and final day of the tournament, Staloch faced off against Washington & Lee player Lauren Caire. Staloch was stunned by Caire 6–1, 7–6 (2). In 2005, Staloch won the ITA national tournament; in 2006 she came in third place at the national tournament; but this year she failed to escape the regional tournament.

Staloch, however, showed her mettle and bounced back, winning the doubles title with Chui and advancing to the national tournament. This is Staloch’s first trip to the national tournament in doubles; she was runner-up at the regional tournament with alumna Mona Iyer last year. Staloch got a bit of revenge: She and Chui beat Caire and partner Katie Tabb in the doubles final.

“I’m really excited and nervous for nationals. College tennis has been such a blast, and I love the team atmosphere,” Chui said. “I love how there is an emphasis on doubles, and it’s great having Amy as a partner. She’s really supportive and has a lot of experience being a senior on the team, which helps calm my nerves.”

Staloch was upbeat after the tournament. “I am thrilled about going to nationals. I love the competition at nationals but am most excited for Jenn getting to go as a freshman. She is so talented and fun to play with and really deserves to go. All of the freshmen bring a lot of enthusiasm to the team as they are all excited to be competing,” she said.

Staloch and Chui will represent Carnegie Mellon and compete at the ITA national championships in two weeks.