MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – The No. 5 Wesleyan University women's tennis team and the No. 12-ranked men's squad will continue building upon outstanding 2017-18 seasons on Thursday-Saturday, as the Cardinals earned a program record five individual berths into the 2018 NCAA Division III Individual Championships in Claremont, Calif.
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps will be hosting the three-day tournament at the Biszantz Family Tennis Center. Eudice Chong '18 and Victoria Yu '19 will compete in the 32-player singles bracket on the women's side, as Chong earned the No. 1 seed and will face Sarah Ikioka of Redlands in the first round tomorrow while Yu will play Nithya Kanagasgar of Carnegie Mellon.
Chong, who hails from Sai Kung, Hong Kong, is the three-time defending national champion in the singles draw. Yu, a New Braunfels, Texas native, emerged victorious in three straight matches at the 2017 singles championships en route to earning All-America honors and reaching the semifinals.
Chong has done it all throughout her time as a Cardinal, as she went undefeated against Division III players during the 2017-18 campaign. In addition, she has compiled a 96-4 career record in singles action, while boasting a perfect 22-0 mark as a rookie. Yu has excelled playing primarily at the No. 2 slot, compiling a 17-5 record this season.
Additionally, Chong and Yu will take the court together in the 16-team doubles bracket, as the squad claimed the 2017 title, winning four straight matches on the national stage without losing a single set. The dynamic duo has been nearly unbeatable as a tandem, boasting an incredible 31-2 record in doubles. They earned the No. 1 seed and will face Catherine Allen and Caroline Cox of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in the first round tomorrow.
The men's tennis team will be represented with two student-athletes in the singles competition. Steven Chen '18 will be making his third consecutive appearance, as he advanced to the Round of 16 with opening-round victories in 2016 and 2017. He will be joined, by Andrew Finkelman '21, who earned one of the four at-large berths and is making his first appearance at the NCAA Individual Championships. Tiago Eusebio '18 and Princeton Carter '20 were named as the fourth alternate in the doubles competition.
Chen will take on Bernardo Neves of Washington University in St. Louis during the Round of 32 on Thursday, while Finkelman squares off against Hayden Cassone of Emory in the opening round.
Chen, who grew up in San Diego, Calif., went 20-8 at the No. 1 slot for the men's team, and Finkelman recorded a 19-10 effort primarily at the No. 2 position. Finkelman, a Portland, Ore. native, defeated defending NCAA singles champion Lubomir Cuba (Middlebury) and Sean Wei (Amherst) at the ITA New England Regional Championships this past fall—Cuba and Wei are currently ranked No. 2 and 3, respectively, in the Northeast.
The men's and women's programs also compiled extraordinary seasons as complete teams. The women's unit registered its best season in program history, advancing to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Championship for the first-time ever. The outstanding year also consisted of a 14-4 record and a 7-2 mark in the highly-competitive NESCAC. The 14 single-season wins are the second most in school history, and the seven NESCAC wins set a record, as the senior leadership of Nicole McCann, Aashli Budhiraja, Helen Klass-Warch and Chong played a vital role in the success.
The Cardinals men's team went 9-9 overall and 6-4 in conference action, headlined by the senior leadership of Chen, Eusebio and Cam Daniels. The unit advanced to the semifinals of the NESCAC Tournament behind a 5-3 triumph over then-No. 8 ranked Amherst during the first round.