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Chen, Liu Named All-NESCAC; Qualify for NCAA Championships

Photo by Jonas Powell '18
Photo by Jonas Powell '18


MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Steven Chen '18 of the Wesleyan University men's tennis team has been named a NESCAC First Team All-Conference selection Thursday, a day after qualifying for the NCAA Division III Men's Tennis Individual Championships. In addition, teammate Michael Liu '17 received Second Team All-NESCAC praise and was selected as a singles alternate for the postseason tournament.

The duo has thrived all season in singles play, and helped guide Wesleyan to a 13-6 overall record and a 7-3 mark in conference play en route to a No. 11 national ranking. 

A year after earning second team laurels, Chen was named a first team honoree for the first time in his career. The sophomore excelled from the No. 1 and No. 2 singles positions all season and posted an 18-3 overall record, while reaching the semifinal round of the USTA/ITA New England Regional Championship. He was also instrumental in Wesleyan's first-ever NESCAC Tournament win, earning a point in singles play to lift the Cardinals into the conference semifinals with a 5-3 win over No. 13 Tufts.

Liu picked up his second all-conference selection of his career after earning a first team nod a year ago. Playing primarily from the No. 1 position, he finished with an 11-8 overall singles record and was selected as an alternate from the Northeast region. From April 13 to April 30, he won six straight singles matches, including wins over No. 31 Brian Granoff of No. 28 Brandeis, and No. 41 Zach Bessette of 14th-ranked Amherst. 

In addition to his All-NESCAC honor, Liu was named the 2016 Clarence Chaffee Sportsmanship Award winner, which is given annually to the individual who best combined and displayed a high standard of tennis coupled with the highest levels of sportsmanship. He is the first Cardinal to receive the award.

The NCAA individual championships consist of 32 singles players and 16 doubles teams. The selection is based on win-lost record, strength of schedule, and eligibility and availability of student-athletes. They will take place after the team championships (May 23-25), and will be held May 26-28 at Stowe Stadium in Kalamazoo, Michigan.