Over the weekend, the Spartans were split up between two tournaments. While the team got off to a hot start in both tournaments, the players hit a wall midway through the highly competitive brackets.
Part of the team traveled to Kalamazoo, Michigan to battle in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Division III Central Regional Championships. The Spartans looked strong out of the gate in singles, with six members of the team advancing to the Round of 64 out of seven total Case Western Reserve University athletes competing.
In the first round, fourth-year student Phillip Gruber, second-year student Rob Stroup, first-year student Siddharth Rajupet, fourth-year student Fred Daum, first-year student Sam Concannon and fourth-year student Josh Dughi all advanced in straight sets. Particularly impressive were the performances of Rajupet and Dughi, who swept both sets 6-0.
However half of those that advanced into the Round of 64 fell off. The most surprising was the elimination of Stroup, who had been seeded 25th. Three of the seven CWRU athletes advanced into the Round of 32. After a dominant 6-1 finish in the first set, Dughi took a contested second set 7-6 to advance. Continuing their strong rookie campaigns, Concannon and the 17th seed Rajupet obtained 2-0 match victories.
Concannon and Rajupet were eliminated in the Round of 32 to cap off an impressive first-year ITA Regionals effort. Rajupet fell in straight sets to a strong fourth-seeded athlete from Washington University. Concannon, unranked, gave a seventh seed a run for his money. The first-year student took the second set 7-5 after losing a close first set. Concannon would lose the last set 6-2 to finish his tournament.
Dughi was the lone Spartan to make it past the competitive Round of 32. After a relatively close Round of 64 matchup, Dughi bounced back with an easy 6-4, 6-0 win. Dughi’s run would end in the Round of 16 as he faced second-seeded Nicholas Chua from University of Chicago. After a bad 6-1 loss in the first set, Dughi took the second set before losing 6-1 again in the third set.
In doubles, two of the teams advanced to the Round of 32 before being eliminated. Dughi and Stroup fell 8-3 to a ninth seed while the pair of first-years, Concannon and Rajupet, lost 8-1, also to a ninth seed.
The other part of the team traveled to Purdue University to compete in their fall invitational. Competing with NCAA Division I talent, the team came away with some impressive singles wins. Even with the team being largely comprised of underclassmen, the Division III Spartans held their own against the superior division. First-year student Anthony Kanam had a particularly strong weekend. Kanam advanced through the first two rounds of his bracket and along with first-year, Zach Hennessey, took two of three doubles matches.
The team continues their fall competition next weekend at home on Saturday, Oct. 1.