The No. 18 Case Western Reserve University men’s tennis team won both games on Senior Day against New York University (NYU), 7-2, and Ohio Wesleyan University (OWU), 6-3, at home. The Spartans boast a 15-9 record, winning six out of the last seven games heading into University Athletic Association (UAA) championships.
Fourth-year player James Fojtasek was recognized between games with a medal. Fojtasek ranks fifth overall for combined singles and doubles wins in university history, with a 62-43 singles record and 79-36 doubles record.
“It was a bittersweet moment for me…All the guys I played with graduated since I was on co-op for two years, but [tennis] is definitely something I’ll miss,” Fojtasek said.
As usual, the Spartans had a strong start in doubles to propel their progress towards victory against NYU. Fojtasek and second-year player Anthony Kanam were victorious 8-3, while first-year players Neil Mabee and Jonathan Powell continued the win streak with an 8-4 victory. Second-year player Zach Hennessey and first-year player Matthew Chen claimed the last doubles win with a final score of 8-1.
In singles play, second-year player Sam Concannon bounced back from last week with a 6-1, 6-1 victory. Third-year player Rob Stroup picked up a 6-1, 6-3 wins at fifth singles, while Powell earned a 6-0, 6-2 victory at sixth singles. Chen had a tough match but managed to grind out the win at second singles, 7-5, 6-2. Fojtasek unfortunately lost 6-4, 7-5 at first singles, and Kanam lost a tough three set battle of 3-6, 6-2, and 10-5 at third singles.
“It was a close match and I got broken in each set…but this was my best indoor performance [this season], which gives me confidence heading into play Carnegie Mellon,” Fojtasek said.
To start their last match of the regular season against OWU, the Spartans had a strong start at doubles again, with Fojtasek and Kanam winning their match 8-1 and Chen and Hennessey repeating their first doubles with a 8-1 victory as well. A rare upset loss at second doubles by Ohio Wesleyan ruined the Spartans routine 3-0 start in doubles play, as Powell and Mabee fell in a tough 8-7 (7) loss.
“Even though [Powell and Mabee] weren’t playing so hot, it was good that they found a way back in to [tie] the game,” Fojtasek said.
The Spartans continued their dominant singles play in the lower sections. First-year player Josh Hsia started with a 6-3, 6-2 win, while Powell moved up to fourth singles and claimed a 6-3, 6-1 win. Kanam also picked up a 6-1, 6-2 win at second singles. Chen did not manage to win, as he lost a tough 2-6, 6-2, 10-8 loss, and first-year player Earl Hsieh dropped a 6-1, 6-4 match at fifth singles
“I previously played [Chen’s opponent]. He is very tough and persevering, and he was a [fourth-year player] too. It was hard [for Chen] to take control of the ball, and having experience is important,” Fojtasek said.
The Spartans will be heading to Altamonte Springs, Florida for the UAA Championships. The team, ranked as No. 6 in the tournament, will face No. 3 seeded and nationally-ranked No. 9 Carnegie Mellon University in the quarterfinals on April 26.
The Spartans anticipate nice weather, and look to use that to their advantage. The smaller Spartan team is more suited for slower, outdoor competition, Fojtasek said.