The Spartan tennis program is off and running as the men won out over Oberlin College in the spring season opener. The Case Western Reserve University team looks to continue the trend with a strong showing at the Division III Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Indoor National Championship at the same site this weekend.
The team expected to come out swinging in their first indoor event of the year. With a last minute change of opponent, the main goal was to get used to the pace of competition again before the national championship. Head coach Todd Wojtkowski was glad the team was able to get some experience in during the first week of the season: “It was a good chance to get used to the match format and get to know the building we’ll be playing nationals in.”
The Oberlin meet saw the Case team sweep their opponent 9-0 with good showings by nationally-ranked individual players Christopher Krimbill, Will Drougas and Eric Klawitter as well as ranked doubles teams Klawitter/Krimbill and Drougas/Healey. The team won in swift fashion with only one individual player being forced to play to a third set. This bodes well for the team that started 11-0 on indoor courts last season and has risen in national rankings steadily over the past two years.
Case comes into the tournament as the seventh seed, set to face off against two-seed Kenyon College in the first round on Friday, a rematch of last year’s NCAA Sweet 16 matchup which booted the Spartans from the tournament. This is the first year the men have made it to the national indoor event. The team’s style of play suits the indoor courts well and the team consistently plays well in these matches.
Because of their strength in the past, the team isn’t satisfied with just receiving their first invitation to the tournament. “It’s not like we’re just happy to be there. The guys want to win and we think we can. Not saying we aren’t glad to just have the opportunity, but we’re looking to compete,” said Wojtkowski. The pressure is heightened by the fact that Case serves as the host of the event.
For a team that has consistently pushed themselves to compete at the highest level, the opportunity to compete in a national tournament is just another step on the road to growing the program. “As we get better and better, it’s harder to do something new and push the bar higher. This is a great new milestone for the program,” said Wojtkowski.
The Spartans will look to reach this whole new level starting Friday at the Mayfield Village Racquet Club.