FREDERICKSBURG, Va. – The Case Western Reserve University men's tennis team opened the spring season with a pair of dual match wins versus a duo of nationally-ranked opponents in No. 12 North Carolina Wesleyan College and No. 21 University of Mary Washington at the Battleground Athletic Complex. The Spartans bested North Carolina Wesleyan by a 6-3 tally before defeating the host Eagles, 7-2, during the first day of the two-day Mary Washington Invitational.
The Spartans jump right back into action on Sunday, February 17 when they battle Vassar College (N.Y.) at 9:00 a.m. during the final day of the invitational.
Versus North Carolina Wesleyan, the Spartans notched two of three doubles points. The Battling Bishops took a 9-7 decision at No. 1, but Case responded as the duo of seniors Richard Brunsting (Nashville, Tenn./Montgomery Bell Academy) and Alex Solove (Powell, Ohio/Olentangy Liberty) defeated Johan Ljungdahl and Peter Hviid by an 8-5 tally at No. 2. At No. 3, the team of freshman Christopher Krimbill (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain) and junior Eric Klawitter (Arlington Heights, Ill./John Hersey) gave Case the lead headed into singles with an 8-6 win versus Marcus Pola and Mikhail Konnov.
The Battling Bishops picked up the first two points in singles and grabbed a quick 3-2 team lead as No. 2 nationally-ranked Robert Kjellberg defeated sophomore Will Drougas (Roanoke, Va./Salem) by identical 6-1, 6-1 scores and Artisom Prostak beat Krimbill in the second singles slot.
However, Case regained the momentum and took the match with four-straight wins at No. 3 through No. 6. Klawitter and Ljungdahl traded the first two sets with 6-4 scores at No. 3, but the third-year Spartan grabbed the team point via a 6-3 score in the deciding set. At No. 4, junior Derek Reinbold (Carmel, Ind./Park Tudor) defeated Konnov 6-4, 6-2, and at fifth singles, freshman Harrison Smith (Knoxville, Tenn./West) grabbed his first collegiate victory versus Pola 6-0, 6-2. Junior John Healey (Columbia, Md./Atholton) was victorious at sixth singles, 6-3, 6-2 versus Irakii Marutian.
In the afternoon matchup against the nationally-ranked Eagles, the duo of Healey and senior Nicolas Howe (Shaker Heights, Ohio/Shaker Heights) began doubles with a 9-8 victory versus the tandem of Donato Rizzolo and Evan Charles. Mary Washington picked up a point at No. 2, but the tandem of Klawitter and Krimbill gave the Spartans a 2-1 team advantage with an 8-6 victory at No. 3.
Singles play began with Drougas cruising to a straight-set victory versus Alex Blakhin by a 6-2, 6-1 tally at No. 1 and Krimbill with a 7-6, 6-2 score at No. 2. In the third slot, the Eagles pulled to within two, 4-2, when Charles defeated Klawitter in a match between regionally-ranked opponents, 6-4, 6-4.
However, Case secured the team victory with wins from Reinbold at No. 4 (6-4, 6-4), Smith at No. 5 (6-4, 3-0, retired) and Healey at No. 6 (4-6, 6-1, 10-4).