No. 6 CWRU Men’s Tennis Falls to #8 CMU in UAA Opener

No. 6 CWRU Men’s Tennis Falls to #8 CMU in UAA Opener

The Case Western Reserve University men's tennis team, ranked sixth in Division III, suffered a setback in its opening match of the 2016 University Athletic Association Championships, falling 6-3 to eighth-ranked Carnegie Mellon University at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs, Florida on Thursday.

The Spartans will move to the consolation draw, where they will take on eighth-seeded New York University, which dropped an 8-1 match to top-seeded Emory University on Thursday.  The consolation match is scheduled for a 2:00 p.m. start on Friday, April 22nd.

The Spartans and the Tartans split the first two doubles matches to be decided on Thursday.  Seniors CJ Krimbill and Louis Stuerke, ranked first in the Central Region, topped Carnegie Mellon's Vayum Arora and Dan Levine, ranked second in the Atlantic South Region, 8-4 to give Case Western Reserve the early lead.  However, Carnegie Mellon answered back at third doubles, with Yuvraj Kumar and Abhishek Alla topping freshmen John Benedetto and David Zakhodin 8-4.

At second doubles, juniors James Fojtasek and Phil Gruber would push the Spartans back out in front, topping the Atlantic South Region's 13th-ranked pairing in Jeffrey Chen and Kenny Zheng 8-5, giving Case Western Reserve a 2-1 advantage heading into singles play.

However, after a brief rain storm delayed the action, the Spartans struggled to maintain their momentum from doubles.  The first two singles matches would go to the Tartans, with Zheng topping Stuerke 6-3, 6-2 at second singles, and Levine (ranked seventh in the Atlantic South) topping Fojtasek (ranked 12th in the Central) in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2 at second singles.  At first singles, Krimbill, ranked third in the Central, evened the score with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Alla, ranked fourth in the Atlantic South, at first singles.

Kumar would give Carnegie Mellon the lead back with a 6-4, 6-2 win at sixth singles over junior Joshua Dughi, and put the Tartans a win away from clinching.  Carnegie Mellon's Arora would clinch the team win with a three-set victory over junior Kevin Dong at fifth singles, winning 6-2, 3-6, 6-0, and Chaz Downing added to the win with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over freshman Robert Stroup at third singles.

The loss was just the fourth of the season for the Spartans against a Division III opponent, all of which have come to UAA teams currently ranked in the top-eight nationally.  Case Western Reserve dropped to 18-7 overall, while Carnegie Mellon raised its season record to 15-5.

The Spartans will now turn their attention towards their consolation match against New York University, which, in addition to being the eighth-seeded team in the tournament, is ranked 14th in the Northeast Region.  This will be the second meeting of the season between the two teams, after the Spartans topped the Violets 8-1 at the Cleveland Racquet Club earlier in the month.  NYU will enter Friday's match with a 4-9 overall record.

Carnegie Mellon will advance to the semifinals of the UAA Championships to face top-seeded and top-ranked Emory.

Fans can follow the action with live twitter updates on the CWRU tennis account @casetennis1 and the UAA tennis account @uaatennis.  Results and a recap of the match will be posted to athletics.case.edu following the completion of Friday's match.