The Spartan women finished with a total record of 30-15 during the fall season-ending United States Tennis Association and Intercollegiate Tennis Association Central Region Championship this past weekend at DePauw University. All nine participants won at least one match with multiple players going on to later rounds. With many tough draws against seeded opponents, the Spartans demonstrated that they are able to compete with the top teams in the region.
In singles play, junior Marianne Bonanno had the best finish for the team, ending her day in the semifinal round. On the way, Bonanno defeated number two seed Sarah Woods from Kalamazoo College along with two difficult opponents from rival schools The College of Wooster and Denison University. Bonanno showed mental toughness through the match with Woods, coming back from a first set loss to win the final sets by considerable margins of 6-3 and 6-2.
Other individual standouts were sophomore Michelle Djohan, freshman Sarah Berchuck and sophomore Surya Khadilkar, who all were among the final 32 players left standing in the championship bracket.
Altogether, Case won 11 matches in the championship bracket and six matches in the consolation bracket. Sophomore Meredith Lee advanced to the round of 16 in the consolation bracket and freshman Kennedy Mulholland got all the way to the semifinal round before being bumped off by Emily Holloway from Denison.
The doubles matches also went well with the team of Bonanno/Djohan advancing to the round of 16 in the championship bracket and Khadilkar/Lowe making it all the way to the championship round of the consolation bracket where they lost to the team of Corinne Rauck/Erin Wong from Washington University.
Coach Kirsten Gambrell was very pleased with the team’s showing at this critical event. “It was a great weekend. We definitely made a statement, mostly for the top three teams ranked ahead of us. We beat a lot of our chief competition in some top matches,” Gambrell said.
The fact that no players were knocked out in the first round of competition gives Case Western tennis fans a lot to look forward to in the fall when the team returns for the second part of the season.
With many of the wins coming in three-set matches, the team has demonstrated the toughness they will need to succeed in the rest of the season. “The fact that we pulled through in really close matches is a good sign that we’re staying in it, sometimes more mentally than physically,” Gambrell explained.
The ladies will all need to keep that determination going as they head into the long three-month hiatus before the spring season.
The Spartans will head to Indiana University of Pennsylvania to start the second portion of their year in February.