The No. 12 Spartans continued their winning ways this weekend, defeating the unranked State University of New York at Oneonta in both of their matches. Both wins were dominating, with Case Western Reserve University only losing one match out of 18.
In the first of the two match-ups, the Spartans came out strong. In the doubles matches, two of the three duos (fourth-year student Phillip Gruber paired with second-year student David Zakhodin and second-year student John Benedetto paired with first-year student Anthony Kanam) swept their opponents. The other duo, made up of first-year students Sam Concannon and Zach Hennessey, had a much closer match, earning an 8-5 victory.
But even after the dominating start in doubles competition, the Spartans received a strong reality check in the first singles match. First-year student Siddharth Rajupet lost the first set against his opponent, Michael Nelson, then won the second. In the deciding set, Nelson outmaneuvered Rajupet, and earned his team their first point with a 10-6 victory to close the match.
The Spartans stepped on the gas throughout the rest of the match-up. In the next five matches, the Spartans won each and every set handily, ultimately winning the day 8-1.
For the next match, the Spartans stuck with two of their three duos, but they replaced Concannon and Hennessey with a pair of fourth-year students, Fred Daum and Joshua Dughi. Unlike last time, none of the Spartan duos earned clean sweeps of their opponents, but the closest match was still a five point victory.
The Spartans also changed up their singles match players, swapping Rajupet for fourth-year student Kevin Dong. Every singles match went easily to the Spartans, resulting in a clean sweep of the match-up with the Spartans winning all nine points.
CWRU has now improved to the stellar record of 14-4, exactly on par with where they were last year after 18 games. However, at this point last year, the Spartans were ranked No. 6 as opposed to their current national ranking of No. 12. Nonetheless, the team is on track to match or even exceed last year’s 22 wins and could still see its ranking skyrocket into the top five.
The Spartans are heading to Oberlin, Ohio on Saturday, April 8 to play two games in neutral territory on the courts of Oberlin College. The first game is against Wheaton College followed by another game against The College of Wooster on the same day. After the two neutral games on Saturday, they will be playing back at home against Oberlin on Sunday.