CWRU men’s tennis make their mark

Medha Nayak, Sports Editor

This weekend, the men’s tennis team opened their season at the Villanova Invitational. The tournament lasted three days, from Sept. 13-15, and took place in Pennsylvania. This is the first time that the Spartans have competed in this tournament. The Invitational featured a number of Division I tennis teams. 

The tournament had two 16-team draws and featured doubles matches. After a doubles match, each of the players played a singles match. The team that won at least two matches would advance to the next round. The Spartans’ competitors for this season are fourth-year Sam Concannon; third-year players Matthew Chen, Earl Hsieh and Aris Jhaveri; second-year players Aaron Umen and Max Vicario; and first-years James Hopper and Diego Maza.

At the tournament this weekend, Hopper was recognized as the UAA Athlete of the Week for all of men’s tennis for his outstanding performance last weekend. He won every match he played with teammate Chen. At his first college game, Hopper won an impressive record of 4-0 in both his singles and doubles matches. He faced Division I tennis competitors and won the championships with Chen. 

Concannon and Umen placed seventh in the primary draw and Jhaveri and Hsieh received fifth place in the second flight. Vicario and Maza got ninth place in the second flight. Case Western Reserve University’s men’s ended the tournament with a record of 11-5 doubles play and 22-9 in singles play.

In the 2018-2019 season, the men’s tennis team was ranked number 12 against all NCAA Division III teams. They ended the season with a strong record of 21-9. Additionally, the men’s tennis team ended the season ranked fifth in the Central division. Last year’s singles players, Chen and Umen also received numerous accolades individually. Chen was ranked 30th against all singles players in Division III and ninth amongst all singles players in the central division, while Umen ended the season ranked number 25 amongst players of the central region.

CWRU’s men’s tennis team also had two teams of doubles players to be ranked on the ITA’s final Central Region rankings. The team of then third-year Anthony Kanam and second-year Jonathan Powell were ranked 10th, while the team of Chen and then third-year Zach Hennessy received 14th place.

For their singles play, Chen and Umen received All-UAA First Team honors for their play at first and second singles. Powell also earned an All-UAA Second Team honors for his fourth/fifth/sixth singles, and first-year Chaitanya Aduru received an honorable mention for his fifth/sixth singles. The doubles team of Chan and Hennessy earned an All-UAA Second Team honors for their second doubles play, and the team of Aduru and Umen received an honorable mention for their third doubles play. The Spartans, as a team, received the All-Academic Team Award and ITA’s Regional Community Service Award for their community outreach and service efforts.

The 2019 team is coached by Head Coach Todd Wojtkowski. Since his time serving as the head coach, he has made a significant impact on the team making the Spartans one of the best teams in the Athletic Division III conference. Wojtkowski was selected as Head Coach on Aug. 25, 2008. For the first five years, he coached both the men’s and women’s tennis teams. At the time he started, both teams were unranked. Within a short time, Wojtkowski made the teams some of the best in the division once he established new playing techniques and strategies. Under his leadership, the Spartans have qualified for the championships three times.

CWRU’s men’s tennis team will be playing next this weekend at Rocket Invitational in Toledo, Ohio and the Oberlin Invitational in Oberlin, Ohio.