CWRU varsity sports return to action

Fourth-year Sidney Brannam led the softball team in their sweep of Bluffton University on April 2, holding Bluffton to zero runs in the first game and three in the second.

Courtesy of CWRU Athletic Deparment

Fourth-year Sidney Brannam led the softball team in their sweep of Bluffton University on April 2, holding Bluffton to zero runs in the first game and three in the second.

Puneet Bansal, Sports Editor

The pandemic disrupted every aspect of our normal life. For the fall semester, teams didn’t compete in any games and struggled to conduct meaningful practices under the social distancing guidelines. Fortunately, varsity sports teams recently began their season in the middle of March. Although this spring season is obviously unlike any other before, it does provide a glimmer of hope that we’re almost out of this odd way of life.

Here is a review of how Case Western Reserve University’s baseball, men’s soccer, men’s tennis, softball and women’s tennis varsity teams have performed thus far.


Though the baseball team had a turbulent start to their spring season, the team came out of March with a 8-4 record overall. After sweeping Hiram College in the season opener on March 13, the team suffered three straight losses against Denison University (9-0, 6-5 on March 20 and 4-0 on March 21). The Spartans then ended March with a four-game win streak after sweeping Ohio Wesleyan University and Hiram College in doubleheaders.

The Spartans began April with two devastating losses against Wittenberg University, falling 11-1 and 11-2 in those games. However, the team bounced back strongly on April 3.

In the first game of the second doubleheader against Wittenberg, the Spartans scored two runs in the first inning after a single by fourth-year Benjamin Stawicki. Fourth-year Jacob Lott’s double in the second inning helped increase the Spartan’s lead to 4-0. The team exploded for seven runs on eight hits in the fifth inning to push the lead to 11-3. After nine innings, the Spartans were victorious, winning 14-7 against Wittenberg.

The second game was more dramatic, with the Spartans having to come back from an early 0-2 deficit in the first inning. The Spartans took the lead in the second inning, scoring three runs on three hits. They continued to build on the lead in the third and fourth innings and extended the lead to 6-2. Wittenberg made a strong campaign in the sixth inning, scoring three runs on five hits and making the score 6-5. In the eighth inning, second-year Nick Talarico hit a triple to left center, allowing first-year Zack Carinci and third-year Cole Jarrett to each score one run. With the final score being 8-5, the Spartans swept Wittenberg in this doubleheader.

The baseball team holds a 10-6 record. They’re scheduled for a doubleheader against Oberlin College on April 10.

Men’s Soccer

After more than a year without having played any matches, the CWRU men’s soccer team began their 2021 spring season on March 17 against Walsh University’s NCAA Division II team in North Canton, Ohio.

Barely three minutes into the match, second-year midfielder Adrian Harkness scored off of an assist from third-year midfielder Sean Atwater to give the Spartans a quick 1-0 lead. Though both teams went back and forth on the field, the score remained unchanged heading into halftime.

Atwater continued on the offensive  in the second half. This time, however, Atwater was on the receiving end of an assist from third-year defender Justin Rehklau. Atwater drilled the goal and put the Spartans up 2-0 with his first collegiate goal.

All seemed well for the Spartans, but the Walsh Cavaliers didn’t relent. With less than three minutes left in the match, midfielder Canaan Johnson netted a goal and cut the Spartans’ lead in half. A minute and 22 seconds later, Cavalier forward Patrick O’Halloran scored the game-tying goal.

The match went into double overtime, but neither team could score a goal on the other. After 110 minutes, the match ended in a 2-2 draw, giving the Spartans a 0-0-1 record to start the spring season. Walsh’s record changed to 1-1-1.

The scheduled match against Mount Vernon Nazarene University on April 7 in Mount Vernon, Ohio was cancelled. The next scheduled match is against Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio on May 2.  

Men’s Tennis

On March 14, the men’s tennis team started the season with a 9-0 sweep against the University of Findlay at the Mayfield Village Racquet Club in Mayfield Village, Ohio. The Spartans dominated almost all of the singles and doubles matches. The third doubles came close, but first-years Vishwa Aduru and Sahil Dayal scraped by with an 8-7 victory.

The Spartans extended their win streak to three games after demolishing the University of Wittenberg 9-0 on March 20 and besting Denison University 8-1 on March 21.

On March 26, the win streak was cut short by the University of Northwestern Ohio, and the Spartans fell 5-4. Northwestern Ohio got out to a hot start in both the doubles and singles matches, and the Spartans were never able to close the gap.

The day after, the Spartans crushed the University of Wittenberg, out-playing them 9-0 in two matches.

This past Saturday, the Spartans went up against Cleveland State University’s NCAA Division I men’s tennis team. Cleveland State got off to a 2-1 in the doubles matches. Third-year Chaitanya Aduru defeated Jack Santilli in fifth singles and second-year James Hopper took victory over Matthew Terry in first singles to propel the Spartans to a 3-2 lead. Cleveland State evened the score 3-3 after Clark Bilinovich won against fourth-year Jonathan Powell in fourth singles. Though fourth-year Anthony Kanam took the victory in sixth singles, Cleveland State ran away with a 5-4 overall victory after securing wins in the second and third singles.  

The men’s team record currently stands at 5-2. The next match is scheduled against the University of Findlay on April 16.


With the season beginning on March 13, the CWRU softball team played 18 games in a span of less than three weeks, earning a solid 12-6 during that month. The team’s six losses came against Mount St. Joseph University (4-2 and 9-3 on March 14), Wittenberg University (11-3 on March 16), Defiance College (5-2 on March 21) and the College of Wooster (10-9 and 4-1 on March 28).

The Spartans only continued their dominant start to the season in April. On April 2, the team defeated Bluffton University 14-0 in an incredibly efficient five-inning game. The Spartans scored two runs in the first inning, five runs in the third inning and finally crushed the Beavers with seven runs in the fifth inning. Though the Bluffton Beavers managed to put some runs on the scoreboard in the second game, the Spartans once again bested them 8-3, improving their record to 14-6 overall.

This past Tuesday, the Spartans replicated their performance from April 2 against Denison University. In the first game, third-year Grace Yeung hit a home run in the second inning to put the Spartans out in front with a 2-0 lead. The Spartans erupted to a 9-1 lead in the third inning and ended the match with a decisive 16-1 victory in the fifth inning.

In the second game, fourth-year Arisa Cleaveland hit a single up the middle in the first inning which allowed fourth-year Sarah Miller to score. A subsequent RBI groundout from fourth-year Dusstyn Reynolds allowed Cleaveland to score, opening the lead for the Spartans to 2-0. Third-year Liv Thomas hit a home run to center field which gave the Spartans a 4-0 lead in the sixth inning. Thomas then hit a double to center field in the seventh inning, allowing Cleaveland to score a fifth point for the Spartans. The Spartans emerged victorious after the seventh inning with a final score of 7-1.

The current record for the softball team is 16-6 overall. The team is scheduled to play against Franciscan University of Steubenville on Friday, April 9.

Women’s Tennis

The CWRU women’s tennis team kicked off the 2021 spring season with a strong win against the University of Northwestern Ohio. The match took place at the Mayfield Village Racquet Club in Mayfield Village, Ohio on March 26.

In the doubles matches, second-year Shreya Ramani and first-year Katherine Wang won by default over Northwestern Ohio in the third doubles. Fourth-year Nicole Cardwell and first-year Chloe Ku took an 8-2 victory over Veronika Kovalchuk and Gabriela Eva in second doubles, extending CWRU’s lead to 2-0. For the first doubles, Northwestern Ohio’s duo of Camila Puente and Ana Cetina staved off fourth-year Madeleine Paolucci and second-year Savannah Bright in an 8-6 match, bringing the score to 2-1.

Starting off the singles, Cardwell won by default in sixth singles and first-year Pallavi Goculdas followed up with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Kovalchuk in third singles. The overall score was pushed to 4-1. Bright won over Cetina in second singles while Ramani fell in fourth singles to Eva. CWRU closed out the afternoon match with a 7-2 score after fourth-year Mira Amin defeated Ellen Sandstrom and Paolucci won over Puente in the fifth singles and first singles, respectively.

The women’s tennis team travelled to Granville, Ohio to play against Denison University on March 28. Denison got off to a quick lead with a 2-1 lead in doubles matches. Alex Cash and Hannah Cianciola defeated Paolucci and Bright 8-5 in first doubles, Sydney Cianciola and Sarah Robertson won 8-5 against Cardwell and Ku in second doubles and Goculdas and second-year Nina Hoog bested Devin Gramley and Monique Brual 8-6 in third doubles.

Northwestern Ohio’s Hannah Cianciola won against Cardwell in fourth singles, pushing their lead to 3-1. CWRU responded with Bright defeating Cash in second singles and Goculdas claiming victory over Robertson in third singles. The score became tied at 3-3. With Paolucci’s win over Sydney Cianciola and Amin’s victory over Gramley, the score turned to 5-3 in favor of CWRU, effectively securing a Spartan victory. Denison won the fifth singles and the final score was 5-4.

The women’s tennis team holds an overall record of 2-0. With the matches against Kenyon College in early April being postponed or cancelled, the Spartans will compete at Oberlin College on April 10.