Sixth-Ranked Spartans Split Saturday Matches

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Photos by Alex Slitz

The Case Western Reserve University men's tennis team, ranked sixth in Division III, split a pair of matches against nationally-ranked opposition on Saturday in Chicago, defeating 37th-ranked Coe College 5-3 in the first match of the day, before suffering a 7-2 loss to 13th-ranked Washington University (Mo.).

With the split of the two matches, the Spartans finished their four matches in Chicago over the weekend with a 3-1 record, improving to 15-6 overall for the year.

#6 CWRU 5, #37 Coe 3
Powered by a sweep of the doubles matches, the Spartans picked up a 5-3 win over Coe in the team's first match of the day on Saturday at the Forest View Racquet & Fitness Club in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

Seniors CJ Krimbill and Louis Stuerke got the Spartans off to a strong start with an 8-0 win over Riley Galbraith and Ryan Hickman at first doubles, with freshmen John Benedetto and David Zakhodin following with an 8-3 victory over Alex Bernt and Nate Ackert at third doubles.  Completing the sweep, juniors James Fojtasek and Phil Gruber topped Brady Anderson and Josh Pudlo 8-6 in the second doubles contest.

It marked the 11th time this season that the Spartans have won each of the doubles contests during a match this season.

Freshman Robert Stroup put CWRU on top 4-0 with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Bernt in the third singles match.  Coe would register the next three victories, with three-set wins from Anderson over Fojtasek in the first match, 6-0, 5-7, 6-3, and Galbraith over Stuerke in the second match, 6-7, 6-4, 6-2, and a 6-4, 7-6 (4) win at fourth singles from Hickman over junior Kevin Dong.  However, the Spartans would wrap-up the victory with a 6-2, 6-1 win from junior Freddy Daum at sixth singles over Zack Decker.  In addition, junior Josh Dughi led Ackert 7-5, 3-0 in the fifth singles match, when play was stopped due to completion.

Coe dropped to 16-3 on the season with the loss.

#13 Washington 7, #6 CWRU 2
Case Western Reserve saw its four-match winning streak come to an end with a 7-2 loss to 13th-ranked Washington University in its second match of the day on Sunday at the Linconshire Tennis Center in Lincolnshire, Illinois.

Washington got on the board first with a win at third doubles, as Jeremy Bush and Tyler Kratky defeated Benedetto and Zakhodin 8-4, before Krimbill and Stuerke evened the match with an 8-5 victory over John Carswell and Josh Cogan in the first doubles match.  However, the Bears would regain the lead behind an 8-6 win from Jason Haugen and Konrad Kozlowski at second doubles over Fojtasek and Gruber, taking a 2-1 advantage over the Spartans heading into singles play.

Krimbill tied the match at 2-2 with a win at first singles, defeating Carswell in straight sets, 6-2, 6-0.  The win was Krimbill's team-leading 21st singles victory of the season, and the 98th of his career.

Washington would get two wins in quick succession at third and fourth singles to take a 4-2 advantage, coming a match away from clinching.  At third singles, Kratky bested Stroup 6-3, 6-3, while Bush topped Stuerke 6-1, 6-0 in the fourth match.  The Bears would then secure the victory with a win at fifth singles, as Haugen came from behind to defeat Dong in three sets, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Washington added a 6-3, 7-5 win at second singles from Johnny Wu over Fojtasek, and Cogan topped off the victory with a 4-6, 6-0, 10-8 win over Dughi at sixth singles.

The win was the eighth-straight for the Bears, who improved to 11-2 overall.

The Spartans will now return home with three matches scheduled for next weekend on the Carlton Courts.  Case Western Reserve will begin the weekend on Saturday, April 16th against the College of Wooster.