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University of Chicago women's tennis team has hopes for a national title

University of Chicago women's tennis team has hopes for a national title
University of Chicago women's tennis team has hopes for a national title 03:16

CHICAGO (CBS) – They're having a bit of a championship run at the University of Chicago.

CBS 2 Matt Zahn checked in with the team that's hoping this is their year.

The Maroons men's tennis and men's soccer teams both won Division III national championships last spring, the first two national titles for the university. Now, the women's tennis team is hoping to follow suit with a coach who just happens to have some experience winning.

For the second straight year, the University of Chicago women's tennis team is ranked No. 1 in the country in Division III.

Zahn: "What is working so well for this team?"

Nicole Geller, sophomore: "I think it's really a combination of things, but mostly just the players here. Everyone here is such a hard worker and fighter, both academically and in terms of athletics."

Last year, both the men's and women's tennis teams were ranked No. 1 at the same time, both teams coached by Jay Tee. The men finished off their season with the first national title for any program in the University of Chicago's history. The women came up just short, falling in the championship match.

"We learned that we could do it," said freshmen Shianna Guo. "We could reach that level. Obviously, there is some part of us that wants that trophy so badly and we all have this fight and we really know that we can bring that out and work so hard and push ourselves to that level."

Guo added it's a privilege to get to that championship level, so it's important to "live in the moment."

On pursuing a title for the women's team after winning on the men's side, Tee said, "For me, it would be great, but I think for the women's team, it would be even better, having watched the men overshadow them a little at the end, and also for the university not having a title in a women's sport yet."

Coach Tee is obviously doing something right at the University of Chicago, leading both the men's and women's programs to the top of Division III. Just don't ask him to take a lot of credit for what he's done.

"I wish I could take credit," Tee said. "I recruited them, so I guess I can say that, but hey are a very mature group. They know how to get along together and compete together. It makes my job so easy."

Zahn: "What is your job at this level?"

Tee: "Buy the snacks. Make sure the van gets there on time and has gas. Other than that, it's to put them in the best position to win."

"I love Jay," said Shianna. "I've talked to a couple of my friends at D1 schools. Some of the coaches are so intense. They practice so much. I think the thing is here, he really prioritizes our academics first. Tennis is honestly something we do for fun and something we do to relieve our stress and he really acknowledges this."

And it's the way they prioritize things that Tee thinks is part of what makes them so great.

"First of all, they're really talented," Tee said. "It's a good team. Second of all, they have a lot of perspective and they want to win. They're competitive, but it doesn't consume them and it doesn't define them. So there's not this extra pressure on them to win championships."

The Maroons are hosting an NCAA regional with their first match on Friday. The Division III team championships start the following Sunday in Florida.

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