Chen grabs third consecutive ITA Regional Championship title

Credit: File Photo Credit: File Photo

Carnegie Mellon’s women’s tennis team traveled to Fredericksburg, Va., last weekend to compete at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Southeast Regional Tournament. The tournament, hosted by the University of Mary Washington, lasted Sept. 25–27 and featured competitors from 10 different schools, including Johns Hopkins University and Washington and Lee University. Tartans junior Laura Chen took the spotlight at the tournament, wearing down her competition en route to the singles title.

The doubles team of Chen and junior Courtney Chin quickly showed everybody why they went into the tournament seeded first. On the first day, the Tartan duo took their first match 8–1 over a team from Washington College before advancing to the quarterfinals with an 8–2 win over Salisbury University’s Victoria Handlin and Elaina Iosue. Another Tartan pair, comprising senior Danielle Rosenfeld and first–year Sonya Subramaniam, took their first match of the tourney with an easy 8–0 win over a team from Haverford College before falling, 8–4, in the next round against a team from Oberlin.

The Tartans’ doubles team of senior Jennifer Chui and junior Cze–Ja Tam, as well as the team of senior Ashley Herrick and first–year Madison Rabson, both lost in their respective first round matches but won their ensuing consolation matches, with Herrick and Rabson taking an 8–0 match from an Albright duo.
Chen and Chin continued where they left off on the second day of doubles competition by winning their quarterfinal match, 8–4, over Johns Hopkins’ Courtney Boger and Nandita Krishnan. Unfortunately, however, they could not keep their success going in their semifinal match, dropping a tight 8–6 loss to a team from Washington and Lee.

Chen was not to be denied a championship in the singles competition. The junior from Port Washington, N.Y. came into the meet with a No. 1 ranking for the second year in a row, and after receiving a bye in the first round, defeated the host university’s Cassie Bowman in the second round, 6–1, 6–2. Chin and Chui kept pace with their teammate on the first day of singles competition, as Chin took both of her opening matches, 6–1, 6–2 and 6–0, 6–0, and Chui won a hard–fought opening match, 7–6 (1–0), 6–7, 6–1 before making quicker work of her second opponent, 6–2, 6–4. Although Chui could not move on to the quarterfinals on the second day after a 6–1, 6–3 defeat in her match, Chen and Chin both were victorious, 6–3, 6–4 and 6–1, 6–2, respectively.

Chen (5–7, 6–2, 6–2) and Chin (6–0, 6–1) then won their respective quarterfinal matches to advance to a semifinal bracket that was eerily similar to the previous year’s. Johns Hopkins junior Carolyn Warren joined Chen and Chin as returners to the four–person bracket, with Warren’s teammate Krishnan the only newcomer to the semifinal round. Chen defeated Krishnan 1–6, 6–2, 6–2 to advance the finals, but Chin fell to Warren, 6–1, 3–6, 6–1, preventing what would have been a rematch against her teammate from last year’s ITA Regionals final. Chen then wrapped up her second straight ITA Regional title with a dominant 6–2, 6–2 win over Warren.
“It feels great to be able to win the ITA regional again, especially when there were a lot of good players in the tournament, both old and new,” Chen commented. “I’m looking forward to going to Alabama [for the ITA National Championships Oct. 14–17] and playing against the tough competition in the tournament, so it’ll definitely be a good experience again. I think winning ITAs is a good sign for the season; it motivates me to keep working hard and I hope to continue playing well for the spring season.”

Chen and her teammates will play next on Saturday, at 9 a.m. as they host Oberlin in their last match before Chen travels to the ITA Nationals. This will be the final match of the fall season for the women’s tennis team before they resume playing in the spring.