CHICAGO – The No. 21-ranked Case Western Reserve University men's tennis team took to the courts on Saturday in a pair of national showdowns with University Athletic Association foes Washington University-St. Louis and the University of Chicago at the Stagg Field Courts. The Spartans grabbed an early lead, but lost to No. 17 Washington U., 6-3, before rebounding to defeat No. 30 Chicago later in the afternoon, 7-2.
With the split, the Spartans (12-7 overall) head into their final week of competition prior to the UAA Championship at the end of the month.
Versus Washington U., also the No. 2-ranked team in the region, the Spartans jumped out to a 3-0 lead with the ITA Central Region's No. 2-ranked tandem of sophomore John Healey (Columbia, Md./Atholton) and junior Kyle Gerber (Columbus, Ohio/St. Charles Preparatory) claiming an 8-4 victory in first position versus No. 3-ranked Adam and Ross Putterman.
In second position, senior Sean Carr (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington) and junior Richard Brunsting (Nashville, Tenn./Montgomery Bell Academy) needed a tie-breaker set to win 9-8, while senior Rohan Patel (Cincinnati, Ohio/Sycamore) and sophomore Eric Klawitter (Arlington Heights, Ill./John Hersey) won 8-4 at No. 3.
However, the Bears came roaring back in singles play with five straight-set victories, including a showdown at No. 1 where Adam Putterman, the region's top-ranked player, defeated Spartan freshman Will Drougas (Roanoke, Va./Salem), ranked No. 6 in the region.
Versus Chicago, the No. 6-ranked squad in the region, the Spartans again gained an early 3-0 advantage with a sweep in doubles. Healey and Gerber were victorious at No. 1 (8-5), while the duos of Carr and Brunsting as well as Patel and Klawitter took the points at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, by identical 8-4 scores.
In singles play, Drougas dropped the opening set versus No. 17-regionally ranked Troy Brinker by a 7-5 tally, but rebounded for the point taking the second set, 6-3, and the final set, 6-1. At No. 2, Carr was victorious in a three-set match (4-6, 6-3, 6-3), while Gerber (6-3, 6-3) and Healey (6-3, 7-5) claimed the other two team points at No. 3 and No. 6 singles, respectively.
The Spartans play their final two regular season matches next Saturday, April 21 at Walsh University in Canton, Ohio. The Spartans take on Wittenberg University at 10:00 a.m. then Walsh at 5:00 p.m.
The UAA Championship for the men takes place from Thursday-Saturday, April 26-28 in Altamonte Springs, Florida.