Chen takes third at ITA Nationals, MacTaggart/Miller get seventh

Three Carnegie Mellon tennis players — junior Laura Chen from the women’s team, and sophomore Duke Miller and senior Bobby MacTaggart from the men’s team — qualified for the ITA National Small College Championships two weeks ago held in Mobile, Ala. Chen took third place in her third consecutive trip to nationals, while the doubles duo of Miller and MacTaggart placed seventh.

In the eight-person draw, Chen was seeded first. She defeated Lisa Mertz from Hardin-Simmons University in the opening round in a three-set battle, 6–7 (2), 6–3, 6–1. In the semifinal round, Chen went head-to-head against Kristen Lim from Claremont-Mudd-Scripps College but fell in a disappointing straight-setter, 6–1, 6–0. Lim went on to win the tournament, losing only four games in three matches.

“It was a fun experience in Alabama,” Chen said. “I got to see a lot of good matches between players from other divisions. I think I had a good tournament overall; I’m happy that I was able to improve upon last year’s fourth-place finish.” On her tough opponent, a former Division I player for Cornell University, she said, “I think she has a lot of experience playing against top-level players from [Division I] schools, and that’s what makes her hard to beat.”

Miller and MacTaggart drew second seed Brian Pybas and Parker Larsen from the University of California Santa Cruz in the opening round, but they fell in a close three sets, 7–6 (4), 6–7 (5), 10–1. The two Tartans were unable to regain any momentum for their later match against Skidmore College’s Spencer Cheng and Jimmy Sherpa, and they were swept in straight sets, 6–3, 6–2. In their seventh-place playoff match, the Carnegie Mellon duo defeated a pair from the University of Wisconsin Whitewater, 6–2, 6–3.

The tennis teams have concluded fall play and will resume competition in the spring. The men’s team has an overall record of 3–2, while the women’s team has a overall record of 1–0.