2015-16 CWRU Men’s Tennis Season Recap

2015-16 CWRU Men’s Tennis Season Recap

The Case Western Reserve University men's tennis team turned in one of the most successful seasons in the program's history during the 2015-16 campaign, matching the program record for wins in a season, reaching the round of 16 of the NCAA Division III Championships, and sending a doubles team and a singles player to the NCAA Individual draw.

The Spartans qualified for the NCAA Division III Team Championships for the third time in the program's history, earning the right to host the first three rounds in Cleveland.  After a first-round bye, the Spartans swept Franciscan University 5-0 in the second round, before seeing their season come to an end with a 5-2 loss to 17th-ranked Kenyon College in the round of 16.

Despite the tournament exit, the 2016 season proved to be a historic one for Case Western Reserve, which ended the campaign ranked eighth in the final Intercollegiate Tennis Association NCAA Division III poll.  The Spartans' final record of 22-8 tied the program's single-season record for victories, originally set by the 2012-13 team, and the team's season-high ranking of fifth (reached in the March 17th poll) was the highest national ranking in the program's history.  After ending the fall ranked 14th in Division III, CWRU did not drop out of the top-10 nationally throughout the spring.

Individually, senior CJ Krimbill capped his career at Case Western Reserve with the fourth singles All-America honor of his career, reaching the round of 16 of the NCAA Division III Championships.  In addition, Krimbill and senior Louis Stuerke reached the semifinals of the NCAA Division III Doubles Championships for the second-straight season, as Krimbill claimed the third doubles All-America honor of his career, and Stuerke his second.

Krimbill set a program record for singles victories in a season with a 30-6 overall record, and finished the year ranked 11th in Division III and third in the Central Region, while both he and Stuerke tallied a program-record 33-6 doubles ledger, finishing the year third in the DIII doubles rankings and as the region's top-ranked doubles pairing.  Krimbill also become the program's all-time leader in career singles (107-31) and doubles (123-30) wins, and is one of just two players in the history of the University Athletic Association with over 200 career combined victories.

Also ending the year in the national singles rankings was junior James Fojtasek (18-9 overall), who was ranked 48th in the final Division III poll and 14th in the Central Region.

Earlier in the season, the Spartans rebounded from a quarterfinals loss at the 2016 University Athletic Association Championships in Altamonte Springs, Florida to win their final two matches of the tournament and finish fifth in the conference.  Entering the tournament as the fourth-seeded team, CWRU dropped a 6-3 decision to fifth-seeded and eighth-ranked Carnegie Mellon University in the first match of the tournament, but responded with a 7-2 win over eighth-seeded New York University in the consolation draw, and then topped sixth-seeded and 23rd-ranked Brandeis University in the fifth-place match.

Krimbill was named to the All-UAA Second Team for his play at no. 1 singles, becoming the first player in CWRU history to earn All-UAA singles honors all four years of his career.  He was also selected to the all-conference first team with Stuerke at no. 1 doubles, while Fojtasek and junior Phil Gruber each earned All-UAA Second Team honors for their play at no. 2 doubles.

The Spartans also turned in a program-best finish at the 2016 Intercollegiate Tennis Association Indoor Championships, placing third among the eight teams at the event.  Case Western Reserve served as the host of the event at the Cleveland Racquet Club, which featured eight of the top-14 ranked teams in Division III.  Despite entering the tournament as the eighth-seeded squad, the Spartans were able to upset the top-seeded team, Washington University (then ranked third in Division III) in their first round match.  After a 7-2 loss to sixth-ranked and fourth-seeded University of Chicago, CWRU clinched a third-place finish at the ITA Indoor Championships with a 5-2 win over then-11th-ranked and seventh-seeded Carnegie Mellon.

Case Western Reserve played 12 total matches against ranked NCAA Division III teams during the 2015-16 season, going 7-5 in those contests, and 19-5 overall against Division III opposition.  The Spartans swept their matches on 12 occasions during the campaign, including a stretch of five-straight shutout wins between February 27th and March 6th.  Spartan players recorded a .639 overall singles winning percentage (156-88) and a .752 doubles winning percentage (94-31) over the course of the season.

In addition to the athletic accolades, Krimbill was presented with an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and named to the CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team, for his success both on the court and in the classroom over his career.  Five members of the team received UAA All-Academic honors, while nine claimed ITA Scholar-Athlete acclaim, and the squad as a whole was named an ITA All-Academic Team.

The Spartans earned the following honors during the 2015-16 season:

 

All-America

CJ Krimbill

Scottsdale, Ariz. (Desert Mountain)

Singles, Doubles 

Louis Stuerke

Overland Park, Kan. (Blue Valley Northwest)

Doubles

 

NCAA Championship Participant

CJ Krimbill

Scottsdale, Ariz. (Desert Mountain)

Singles (Round of 16)

Doubles (Semifinals)

Louis Stuerke

Overland Park, Kan. (Blue Valley Northwest)

Doubles (Semifinals)

 

All-UAA

CJ Krimbill

Scottsdale, Ariz. (Desert Mountain)

First Team

No. 1 Doubles

Second Team

No. 1 Singles

Louis Stuerke

Overland Park, Kan. (Blue Valley Northwest)

First Team

No. 1 Doubles

James Fojtasek

Cypress, Texas (Cypress Woods)

Second Team

No. 2 Doubles

Phil Gruber

Springboro, Ohio (Springboro)

Second Team

No. 2 Doubles

 

CoSIDA Academic All-America At-Large Team

CJ Krimbill

Scottsdale, Ariz. (Desert Mountain)

First Team

 

CoSIDA Academic All-District At-Large Team

CJ Krimbill

Scottsdale, Ariz. (Desert Mountain)

 

NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship

CJ Krimbill

Scottsdale, Ariz. (Desert Mountain)

 

UAA Athlete of the Week

CJ Krimbill

Scottsdale, Ariz. (Desert Mountain)

Feb. 29, Mar. 28, Apr. 11, Apr. 18, May 2, May 31

Louis Stuerke

Overland Park, Kan. (Blue Valley Northwest)

May 31