Spartan team earn mixed results over Fall Break weekend

Football offense explodes, swimming and diving teams prepare for season opener


Chris Heermann/The Observer

The CWRU Men’s Cross Country team finished fifth out of 35 teams at the 2021 Inter-Regional Rumble at Oberlin College on Saturday, Oct. 16.

Puneet Bansal, Sports Editor


The Case Western Reserve University football team came out with ferocity this past Saturday and trounced Bethany College 53-0. The resounding victory snapped a three-game losing streak and marked the second win against a conference team. Furthermore, the shutout was the first for the defense since the 2017 NCAA Division III playoff win against Illinois Wesleyan College in the first round.

CWRU was quick to get on the board and took just five plays to reach the endzone in 2:14. The Spartans ran the ball on all the plays as third-year running back Antonio Orsini carried the ball four of the times for 55 yards, including the 23-yard touchdown to put CWRU up 6-0. On the following kickoff, second-year linebacker Ryan Cabrera forced a fumble that was recovered by second-year linebacker Sean Torres only seven yards from the endzone. The offense was brought out and the run ended with fourth-year quarterback Drew Saxton throwing a pass to third-year wide receiver Lucas DeCaro for the 9-yard touchdown. The lead grew to 13-0. The Spartans and the Bisons traded multiple possessions before second-year kicker Jacob Lurie punched in a 34-yard field goal to give CWRU a 16-0 lead. The Spartans scored three more times before the halftime buzzer, including two rushing touchdowns and one passing touchdown for the 39-0 lead.

Orsini ran into the endzone for a 5-yard touchdown in the third quarter while second-year quarterback Alex Fromberg threw in his first career touchdown, targeting first-year receiver Jake Grondz for his first career touchdown to finish off the Bison 53-0.

Orsini finished with 160 yards on offense and three touchdowns while Saxton completed 19 of 22 passes, totaling 244 yards and two touchdowns.

The Spartans host Geneva College this weekend for Homecoming Weekend at 1:30 p.m. at DiSanto Field.


The volleyball team dropped both matches at the third UAA Round Robin in Atlanta losing to Washington University 1-3,  then to New York University 0-3.

The Spartans fell behind quickly in the first set after Washington went on an 8-point run early. Washington eventually sealed the set 25-20. In the second set, the Spartans put up more resistance but quickly fell behind after Washington put together multiple 3-point runs to put together a win again 25-19.

For the third set, CWRU and Washington remained neck-and-neck through the first half, coming to a 12-10 score with the Spartans in the lead. Following multiple kills and a couple service aces from across the team, the Spartans pulled out a strong 25-20 victory in the third set, closing Washington’s lead to 2-1 and igniting hope for a potential victory.

Unfortunately, Washington’s stranglehold was too difficult to overcome. The Spartans kept it close and caught up to Washington 15-15. However, Washington kept CWRU scoreless for eight straight volleys and defeated the Spartans 25-17 in the final set.

First-year outside hitter Rea Marfatia totaled 13 kills to lead the squad while third-year Sara Rogers and first-year Ansley Yamaato tossed in 15 and 11 assists, respectively. Second-year Alyssa Blessinger recorded a team-high 17 digs on the defensive side.

The match against NYU went much worse for the Spartans. In all three sets, the Spartans fell behind early and were never able to string together any stops to fuel a comeback. In the end, CWRU lost three consecutive sets 25-15, 25-12 and 25-20 for their second loss of the weekend. Marfatia once again recorded a team-high 10 kills, Rogers and Yamaato tallied 11 assists each and Blessinger led the defensive charge with 10 digs.

Following the Wednesday night match against Ohio Wesleyan University, the volleyball team is slated to play against Hilbert College and the State University of New York at Fredonia on Oct. 23.

Men’s Soccer

The men’s soccer team tied their match against Emory University 2-2 in double overtime on Friday and fell to the University of Rochester 0-2 on Sunday, earning an overall record of 6-4-2 for the season.

Against Emory, the Eagles were the first to break the 30-minute scoring drought in the first half as Alejandro Gomez scored in the 31st minute to give Emory the lead. CWRU graduate student Seldon Magruder answered 13 minutes later by heading a free kick from first-year forward Brandon Kim into the net. The Spartans managed to take the 2-1 lead in the second half after second-year defender Alex Lippiatt came down the left side of the field and lasered in the goal from the top left corner of the box. Following several attempts, Emory was able to close the gap after Emory defender Josh Berman tied the match in the 61st minute. Neither team could gain an advantage in the final minutes of the match, and the game ended in a tie after 110 minutes.

The results weren’t that favorable on Sunday either, as the Spartans could not find the back of the net at all during the match against Rochester. The Spartans were aggressive early, outshooting Rochester 4-1 in the first half. However, it was the Yellowjackets that tallied the first goal of the match nine minutes into the second half as forward Santi Ponce Ocampo took the successful shot. Rochester added to its lead seven minutes later with forward Othman Belhseine scoring the second goal in the 62nd minute. The Spartans’ remained relentless in their pursuit of goals for the rest of the game but were unable to produce. The game concluded in a 0-2 loss for CWRU, even though they held the advantage in shots (11-7) and corner kicks (7-4).

The Spartans will hopefully bounce back after a disappointing weekend against Carthan College on Oct. 22 at 2:30 p.m. 

Women’s Soccer

The Spartan women took home their first loss of the season against Emory 1-2 last Friday and finished the weekend with a 0-0 double-overtime tie against Rochester on Sunday.

The Eagles were the first to strike, with forward Olivia McBerry shooting the ball into the far corner of the net at 24:05. Just a minute later, Emory extended their lead to 2-0 following midfielder Mia Han’s quick goal. Both teams traded multiple attempts over the rest of the half, but the score remained unchanged. In the second half, the Spartans came out with more force on both sides of the ball. Fourth-year midfielder Anika Washburn intercepted a pass and sent the ball to third-year forward Helina VanBibber, who beat the keeper and sent the ball sailing into the lower left of the goal less than two minutes into the second half. CWRU was unable to find the back of the net to tie the game, taking the loss and bringing their 11-game win streak to an end.

Conference play continued against Rochester on Sunday afternoon. Both sides had multiple opportunities to strike, with CWRU taking 7 shots while Rochester took 10. Corner kicks favored CWRU 6-3. Washburn and third-year forward Aniya Hartzler came closest to scoring for the Spartans in the overtime periods. Second-year goalie Maggie Storti made 2 saves for the game and moved to an 11-1-1 record. This match marked the eighth shutout by the Spartan defense.

After moving to an 11-1-1 overall record, the Spartans will take on Ohio Wesleyan University on Oct. 23 in Delaware, Ohio at 1 p.m.

Men’s Tennis 

The men’s team competed in the 2021 ITA Cup at the Rome Tennis Center in Rome, Georgia last week and came away with multiple wins to conclude their 2021 fall season.

On Thursday, first-year Ansh Shah defeated Skidmore College’s John Rado in the first round after coming back from a 6-2 loss to win the next two sets 6-2, 6-3. Unfortunately, Shah lost to third-seeded Chase Cohen of Williams College in the quarterfinals 4-6, 6-0, 6-0. Shah’s fantastic performance in the first round, however, earned him his first All-America honor of his career.

Third-year James Hopper, who was the top-seeded singles player, reached the quarter finals with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Yudai Teruyama. Hopper was forced to leave his quarterfinal match due to injury and illness, which concluded his main draw run.

Graduate student Jonathan Powell and Hopper teamed up for their doubles match but suffered a loss to Trinity College’s Christian Settles and Hao Nguyen 7-5, 6-1 in the opening round.

Hopper and Powell finished off their doubles play victorious on Friday after besting Emory University’s Sam Dean and Santiago Suarez 6-4, 7-5 and winning over Skidmore College’s Zachary Portnoy and Brendan Jimenez 6-3, 6-1. With the back-to-back wins, the pair ended the fall season with a 10-1 record together. Later on, Shah lost to University of Mary Washington’s Moses Hutchison 6-4, 6-1.

The men’s team will next compete in the 2022 spring, where they will face off against the University of Northwestern Ohio on Feb. 4.

Women’s Tennis

Meanwhile, the women’s team finished off their 2021 fall season, topping NCAA Division II University of Findlay in Oberlin, Ohio this past Saturday.

CWRU took the first points in the competition as third-year Savannah Bright and first-year Lily McCloskey bested Madison Arquette and Zuzanna Krygier 8-0 in doubles. Third-year Nina Hoog and first-year Madeleine Eiss also emerged victorious over Emily Hadler and Laura Brito with an 8-7 win. First-year Anna Kan and second-year Pallavi Goculdas came up short against Laiying Alvarado and Samantha Sweet, losing 4-8 and closing out the doubles 2-1 for CWRU.

In singles, the Spartans took victories in four of the six matches. First-year Hannah Kassaie beat Alvarado 7-5, 6-2 in first singles as McCloskey bested Luciana Pereyra 6-4, 6-3 in the second singles. Though Bright lost the third singles 4-6, 2-6, Eiss was able to pull out the win in fourth singles over Sweet 6-3, 7-6. Golculdas was defeated by Arquette in fifth singles as first-year Radha Patel took the 6-4, 6-4 victory over Lidia Laskova to conclude the competition.

The Spartans will return to the courts on Feb. 5 on the road against the University of Northwestern Ohio.

Swimming and Diving

Starting Oct. 23., the swimming and diving teams will begin their season on the road against Ohio Wesleyan University before hosting Carnegie Mellon University the following week. The women’s teams, which has 46 athletes total and 19 returning, will look to build on their impressive performances from the 2020 season, which included NCAA qualifying appearances for fourth-years Kelly Monton and Anna Smith and third-year Maria Pritchett. On the men’s side, the team of 49 athletes and 26 returnees hope to reach the NCAA tournament as fourth-year Calvin Tecson and third-year Anatole Borisov look to improve upon their school-record breaking times.