Eighth-Ranked Spartans Fall to #7 CMU 5-4 in ITA Indoor Quarterfinals

Eighth-Ranked Spartans Fall to #7 CMU 5-4 in ITA Indoor Quarterfinals

In a battle of top-10 teams in the quarterfinals of the 2017 Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division III Men's Indoor Team Championships, the eighth-ranked Case Western Reserve University men's tennis team suffered its first loss of the season, falling 5-4 to seventh-ranked Carnegie Mellon University at the Cleveland Racquet Club in Pepper Pike, Ohio.

The Spartans, seeded fifth in the tournament, dropped to 3-1 overall on the season, and will turn their attention towards a matchup against eighth-seeded and nationally 14th-ranked Trinity University (Texas) in the consolation round on Saturday, February 25th at 8:00 a.m.  Case Western Reserve will play in either the fifth-place or seventh-place match on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. as well.

The Spartans started strong in the contest, a rematch of the third-place match during last year's ITA Championships, which Case Western Reserve won 5-4.  Case Western Reserve struck first on Friday, as senior Fred Daum and sophomore John Benedetto came from behind in the first doubles match to top Daniel Levine and Vayum Arora (the 11th-ranked doubles pairing in Division III) 8-5.  After Carnegie Mellon evened the score with an 8-2 win at second doubles from Jeffrey Chen and Kenny Zheng over seniors James Fojtasek and Phillip Gruber, the Spartans took a 2-1 lead on an 8-5 win by the freshman duo of Anthony Kanam and Sam Concannon over Chaz Downing and Nicholas Calzolano at third doubles.

Carnegie Mellon regained a lead with wins at fourth singles from Mark Prettyman over sophomore Rob Stroup (6-2, 6-4) and Levine in the no. 1 singles match over Fojtasek (6-4, 6-4).  Concannon evened the team score at 3-3 with a fifth singles win over Arora, 6-3, 6-4, but a victory by CMU's Downing at third singles over senior Josh Dughi, 6-4, 6-4, put the Tartans a match away from clinching.  Shortly thereafter, Carnegie Mellon's Kenny Zheng clinched the match for his team with a three-set win over CWRU freshman Siddharth Rajupet, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2. 

With the match already decided, senior Kevin Dong battled his way to a win at sixth singles, coming from behind to best Kunal Wadwani in three sets, 1-6, 6-4, 10-8.

Carnegie Mellon, which improved to 6-4 overall, will now face top-seeded and nationally second-ranked Emory University in the semifinals on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.  The championship and third-place matches will be on Sunday, February 26th, starting at 8:00 a.m.

Fans can follow all of the tournament action with video and live results, available on the official tournament webpage at http://athletics.case.edu/sports/mten/2016-17/ITAIndoors/index.