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Wesleyan Tennis Players Primed for NCAA Championships

Photos by Jonas Powell '18
Photos by Jonas Powell '18

TOURNAMENT CENTRAL l LIVE VIDEO 

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Sophomores Aashli Budhiraja, Steven Chen and Eudice Chong of the Wesleyan University men's and women's tennis teams will compete in the 2016 NCAA Division III Individual Championships May 26-28, while Michael Liu '17 and Victoria Yu '19 will serve as singles alternates.

THE BASICS
The individual championships will take place following the team championships (May 23-25), and will be held Thursday-Saturday, May 26-28 in Kalamazoo, Mich. Kalamazoo College serves as this year's host, with matches being played at Stowe Stadium on the campus of Kalamazoo, and the Sorensen Courts on the campus of Western Michigan University. 

LIVE COVERAGE
The championship matches will feature live video and live stats

PREVIEW
On the women's side, Chong looks to defend her title in singles play and will also compete in doubles action alongside Budhiraja. A year ago, Chong claimed Wesleyan's first-ever NCAA Division III tennis title with a thrilling 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 win over Joulia Likhanskaia of Bowdoin, as she finished the season with a perfect 22-0 record. Her success as a freshman has carried over into 2015-16 as Chong enters the tournament with a 25-2 record in No. 1 singles. She earned First Team All-NESCAC honors, and figures to be the favorite entering tournament play. In the fall, Chong won the USTA/ITA New England Regional Championship when she defeated her teammate, Yu, in the finals.

In addition to her success on the singles court, Chong has also shined in doubles play alongside Budhiraja. The duo has excelled from the No. 1 position and boast a perfect 11-0 record en route to all-conference laurels. Chong and Budhiraja have defeated the No. 1 doubles teams from No. 20 Case Western Reserve, No. 10 Washington University in St. Louis, No. 7 Amherst, No. 6 Bowdoin, No. 5 Middlebury and No. 2 Williams. Last year, Chong reached the doubles quarterfinals with Helen Klass-Warch '18 before falling short to the top-seeded pair from Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.

Yu has been named the singles alternate from the Northeast region after posting a 17-4 record from No. 2 singles in her first season as a Cardinal. She earned Second Team All-NESCAC for her stellar play.

On the men's side, Chen will represent Wesleyan in singles action, while Liu will serve as a singles alternate. Chen – a two-time all-conference pick and 2016 First Team All-NESCAC selection – thrived from No. 1 and No. 2 singles all season. The sophomore enters the tournament with an 18-3 record, as highlights from the season include a semifinal appearance at the USTA/ITA New England Regional Championship, and a victory in the Cardinals' first-ever NESCAC Championship win.

Liu has enjoyed a strong junior season for Wesleyan, as he garnered his second all-conference selection of his career and was named to the Second Team. He played primarily from the No. 1 court and recorded an 11-8 mark.

The Wesleyan women's tennis team – ranked No. 8 in the country – earned an at-large berth to the NCAA Division III Team Championships for just the second time in program history. They defeated No. 14 Mary Washington, 5-0, before falling to No. 7 Amherst, 5-2, to finish the year with a 12-6 overall record. The Wesleyan men's tennis team – ranked No. 11 in the country – narrowly missed out on the national tournament and finished the year with a 13-6 ledger. Both teams made history earlier in the year when they earned their first-ever NESCAC tournament wins.

For a full championship schedule, visit the tournament central page HERE.