Men’s tennis wins four out of six during busy week

Noah Crowley, Staff Reporter

Over spring break, the Spartans played six matches and won four of them during a busy week on the road. Case Western Reserve University played in Claremont, California from March 12-15. During the week, the team played three non-tournament matches as well as three matches in the Stag-Hen Invitational. The team won all three matches not a part of the Invitational but struggled against top competition at the tournament, notching only one win.

In the first match against Hardin-Simmons University (HSU), the Spartans took seven of the nine matches, losing one doubles match and one singles match. Fourth-year student James Fojtasek lost to HSU’s Alex Hunt in the third set of the first singles match, 10-6. Hunt also won his doubles match, pairing with HSU’s Andrew Eurek to defeat the Spartan duo of second-year students, John Benedetto and David Zakhodin, in a close 9-7 match. Both first-year student Rajeev Laungani (sixth singles) and fourth-year student Kevin Dong (third singles) won their singles matches after a clean 6-0 sweep of the second set.

Next, the Spartans played against Schreiner University, winning all but one of the matches. The Spartans completed no clean sweeps in any sets, yet still came a match short of a sweep for the entire matchup. Fourth-year student Adam Collins fought hard and came close to winning his match, but ultimately came up short in the final set against his opponent. He took a 3-6, 6-4, 11-9 loss, the Spartans only one versus Schreiner.

Finally, CWRU wrapped up its non-tournament games for the week against Vassar College. The Spartans won all nine matches, not even allowing a single match to go a third set. Second-year student Rob Stroup and first-year student Anthony Kanam each had perfect 6-0 sets, and allowed only three and two points respectively from their opponents in the other set.

Having completed their three non-tournament games for the week, the Spartans competed against top Division III competition in the Stag-Hen Invitational hosted by the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges.

In their first game against No. 9 Pomona-Pitzer, the No. 10 Spartans narrowly lost, 5-4, showing that the standings were accurate. Most of the singles matches were dominated by one of the two competitors, and each school won three. The difference was in the doubles matches, where the Spartans were only able to win one of three. It was a much better showing for the Spartans against the Stag-Hens than the last time the two teams met. In the Feb. 25 matchup, Pomona-Pitzer took a 7-2 victory.

The Spartans were then sent to the consolation semifinals round, facing No. 8 Whitman College. Despite being ranked lower than their opponent, the Spartans took the match in a narrow 5-4 split where once again the difference came down to the doubles matches.

Having eliminated Whitman, the Spartans moved on into the fifth place match against No. 11 Wesleyan University. Again, the rankings didn’t seem to have an impact. Wesleyan dominated the matchup, winning eight of the nine matches. Only Dong was able to take a victory, defeating his opponent, Cameron Daniels, 6-4, 6-2.
After the busy week, the team will get to take some time off to rest before their next matches, each taking place at Kenyon College on Saturday, March 25 and Sunday, March 26. The team’s overall record stands at 10-4, with an impressive 6-1 record on neutral courts.