No. 8 CWRU Men’s Tennis Finishes Sixth at ITA DIII Indoor Men’s Tennis Championships

No. 8 CWRU Men’s Tennis Finishes Sixth at ITA DIII Indoor Men’s Tennis Championships

The eighth-ranked Case Western Reserve University men's tennis team split a pair of matches on Saturday to finish sixth at the 2017 Intercollegiate Tennis Association Indoor Men's Tennis Championships, defeating 14th-ranked and eighth-seeded Trinity University (Texas) 5-4 in the early match, and suffering a 7-2 setback to ninth-ranked and sixth-seeded Pomona-Pitzer at night.

The Spartans, who were seeded fifth and served as the host of the event for the second-straight year at the Cleveland Racquet Club in Pepper Pike, Ohio, moved to 4-2 on the year with the split on Saturday.

In the early match, the Spartans engineered a thrilling comeback against Trinity in the consolation semifinals, trailing 2-1 after doubles and 4-2 at one point during singles competition.  The Spartans fell into an early deficit in the contest, with freshmen Anthony Kanam and Sam Concannon losing 8-3 at third doubles to Chas Mayer and Clayton Niess, and senior Fred Daum and sophomore John Benedetto losing in a tiebreaker, 9-8 (1), to Wilson Lambeth and Matt Tyer.  However, at second doubles, seniors James Fojtasek and Phillip Gruber were able to salvage a key point with a 9-8 (4) tiebreaker win over Jordan Pitts and Liam Crawley.

The Spartans and the Tigers traded singles wins to start, with Mayer topping freshman Siddharth Rajupet 6-3, 6-1 at second doubles, followed by a 7-5, 6-2 win from Rob Stroup at fourth singles over Crawley.  At third singles, Pitts would top senior Josh Dughi 6-2, 6-4 to put Trinity a match away from clinching, but back-to-back wins by Concannon at fifth singles over McKenna Fujitani (6-3, 2-6, 6-0) and by Fojtasek at first singles over Lambeth (4-6, 7-5, 6-2) evened the team score at 4-4.

The match would come down to sixth singles, where CWRU senior Kevin Dong was able to secure the Spartans' berth in the fifth-place match later in the day with a straight-set win over Tyer, 6-3, 6-3.

Trinity fell to 3-5 with the loss.

The fifth-place match against Pomona-Pitzer would play out differently for the Spartans, who jumped out to an early lead in doubles.  CWRU won the first two doubles contests, with Daum and Benedetto topping Graham Maassen and Marko Mandic 8-4 at no. 1 doubles, and Fojtasek and Gruber claiming an 8-4 win at no. 2 doubles over Avery Bicks and Anthony Bello.  At third doubles, the Sagehens' Spencer Simonides and Jake Yasgoor defeated Kanam and Concannon 8-3.

The Spartans lead would be short-lived, with Pomona-Pitzer getting wins from Yasgoor at no. 1 singles over Fojtasek 6-1, 7-5, Maassen at no. 2 singles over Rajupet 6-4, 7-6 (4) and Bello at no. 3 singles over Dughi, 6-3, 7-6 (6), putting the Sagehens a match away from clinching the team victory.  Mandic secured the win for Pomona-Pitzer with a 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (0) win over Concannon in the fifth singles match.

In the remaining two contests, Stroup lost in three sets, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4, to the Sagehens' Josh Kim at fourth singles, and Dong falling to Josh Gearou 6-4, 6-4 at sixth singles.

Pomona-Pitzer improved to 7-2 on the year following the win.

The ITA DIII Men's Indoor will conclude on Saturday, with second-ranked and top-seeded Emory facing fifth-ranked and fourth-seeded Chicago for the title at 8:00 a.m.  Fourth-ranked and second-seeded Washington will take on seventh-ranked and fourth-seeded Carnegie Mellon University in the third-place match, also at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday.

The Spartans will be back in action on Saturday, March 4th with matches against Allegheny and Earlham at the Mayfield Village Racquet Club.