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Women’s tennis update—Kassaie qualifies for ITA Cup

Courtesy of CWRU Athletics
During ITA Central Regional Championship in St. Louis this past weekend, third-year Hannah Kassaie places second in the women’s open singles.

The Case Western Reserve University women’s tennis team competed in the ITA Central Regional Championship from Sept. 22-24 in St. Louis, the final major tournament of their brief fall season.

Over the last couple seasons, the team has markedly improved in their performances at major tournaments, and this weekend was no exception. Third-year Hannah Kassaie became the first women’s tennis athlete in program history to compete for the singles draw in the ITA Cup after reaching the regional championship finals on Sept. 24.

On the first day of the tournament, three of the four Spartan duos advanced to the round of 16 in doubles play. Following a first-round bye, first-seeded Kassaie/third-year Lily McCloskey defeated Ohio Northern University’s pairing 8-1. Also having a first round bye, the seventh-seeded duo of third-year Radha Patel/second-year Katalina Wang defeated opponents from Lake Forest College 8-5. Fourth-years Katherine Wang/Pallavi Goculdas defeated an Oberlin College pairing 8-1 in the first round and a Denison University squad 8-4 in the second. The fourth CWRU duo of second-year Asha Shukla/third-year Anna Kan advanced to the second round but fell to the fourth-seeded Washington University in St. Louis duo 8-7 (5) in tiebreakers.

For the singles draw, McCloskey bested a player from WashU 6-2, 6-4 in the first round and a player from Augustana College in the second round 6-2, 6-0. Patel, likewise, defeated Franciscan University of Steubenville’s player 6-0, 6-1 in the first round and an opponent from The College of Wooster 6-1, 6-0 in the second. Finally, Kassaie joined the party with a win over a Kalamazoo College player 6-0, 6-1 in the first and over the University of Chicago’s player 6-2, 6-3. All three Spartans advanced to the round of 16.

On the second day, only Kassaie/McCloskey advanced to the semifinals. The duo defeated a WashU pairing 8-2 in the round of 16 and followed with an 8-5 win over a North Central College duo in the quarterfinals. Katherine Wang/Goculdas reached the quarterfinals but fell to the second-seeded UChicago’s duo 8-3. Katalina Wang/Patel were defeated 8-6 in the round of 16 by the ninth seeded UChicago duo.

Third-seeded Kassaie was the only Spartan to reach the singles semifinals, defeating Otterbein University’s Erin Storrer 6-1, 6-1 in the round of 16 and UChicago’s eight-seeded Oliwia Mikos 6-3, 0-6, 6-3 in the quarterfinals. In the quarterfinals, McCloskey fell to UChicago’s Sylwia Mikos 6-3, 6-2 and Patel fell to Kenyon College’s Allaire Berl 6-3, 6-3.

For the final day of the tournament, Kassaie/McCloskey were upset by eighth-seeded UChicago duo Oliwia Mikos/Rena Lin 6-8 in the semifinals.

In the singles, Kassaie defeated second-seeded Eleni Lazaridou of Kenyon College 6-4, 6-0 in the semifinals. In the finals, however, Kassaie was defeated by Sylwia Mikos, the top-seeded singles athlete in the tournament, 6-2, 2-6, 2-6 for the championship.

By reaching the finals at the ITA regionals, Kassaie sealed a spot to compete in the ITA Cup in Rome, Georgia from Oct. 12-16. The team will otherwise enter a short offseason before beginning their spring season on Feb. 9, 2024 against Wooster.

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About the Contributor
Puneet Bansal, Sports Editor
Puneet Bansal (she/her) is a fourth-year student majoring in biochemistry and medical anthropology. She loves obsessing over food, spending time outdoors or annoying her friends. Hailing from the Bay Area, she is an ardent Golden State Warriors fan and finds it daunting to sport her Stephen Curry jersey around Cleveland.

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