#11 CWRU Men’s Tennis Bests #25 Kenyon 5-4

#11 CWRU Men’s Tennis Bests #25 Kenyon 5-4

In a battle of nationally-ranked teams and a rematch of an NCAA Tournament Round of 16 contest from 2016, the 11th-ranked Case Western Reserve University Spartans prevailed over the 25th-ranked Kenyon College Lords 5-4 on Saturday afternoon in Gambier, Ohio.

The difference-making point came at the third singles match, where sophomore Rob Stroup broke a 4-4 tie with a come-from behind three-set win over Kenyon's Michael Liu, 5-7, 7-5, 6-1, clinching the win for the Spartans, who improved to 11-4 overall.  Kenyon dropped to 5-9 with the loss.

Case Western Reserve was forced to overcome an early deficit in the match, falling behind 2-1 after doubles play.  The first match of the day was won by Kenyon's Tristan Kaye and Mike Roberts, who earned an 8-4 victory over CWRU freshman Anthony Kanam and sophomore David Zakhodin in the third doubles match.  The Spartans responded with an 8-6 win at first doubles, with the duo of sophomore John Benedetto and senior Fred Daum defeating Weston Noall and Alex Rieger.  However, Kenyon's Nicholas Paolucci and Jacob Zalenski edged out seniors James Fojtasek and Phillip Gruber at second doubles, 9-7.

In singles action, Kenyon quickly added a point at second singles after Zalenski earned a 6-3, 6-4 win over freshman Siddharth Rajupet, before freshman Sam Concannon brought the Spartans within one, 3-2, with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Henry Barrett at sixth singles.  Fojtasek tied the match for the Spartans with a come-from-behind win in the no. 1 singles match, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 over Paolucci, and senior Josh Dughi gave the Spartans their first lead of the match with another comeback victory, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 over Noall at fifth singles.

The Lords picked up a comeback win of their own at fourth singles, where Austin Diehl bested senior Kevin Dong 5-7, 6-2, 6-2, tying the match at 4-4.  However, Stroup was able to pick up the match-clinching win at third singles, giving the Spartans the win on Saturday.

The victory was Case Western Reserve's third this season against a nationally-ranked opponent.

The Spartans will be back in action tomorrow, facing 31st-ranked Lewis & Clark College at 1:00 p.m. on neutral territory in Gambier.