Case Western Reserve University men's tennis team completed its 2016-17 regular season with a pair of victories on 'Senior Day' to matching the program record for wins in a single season, as the 15th-ranked Spartans topped John Carroll University 9-0 in the early contest, followed by an 9-0 win over Franciscan University in the second match of the day, at the Medical Mutual Tennis Pavilion in Cleveland, Ohio.
The win gave the Spartans a 22-6 record to close out the regular season, matching the program record for wins in a campaign, previously set by the 2013 and 2016 squads. The two sweeps also give Case Western Reserve nine perfect 9-0 victories this season.
In the early match against John Carroll, the Spartans swept all three doubles matches, including a 9-7 win from senior James Fojtasek and sophomore John Benedetto over Jad Abdul-Aal and David Sinense at first doubles. The other two doubles matches were less close, with sophomore David Zakhodin and senior Phillip Gruber besting Dillion O'Brien and Gustavo Garcia 8-3 at second doubles, and freshmen Sam Concannon and Zach Hennessey claiming an 8-2 win over Tyler Cole and Nick Siciliano at third doubles.
The highlight of singles play for CWRU came in the no. 1 match, where Fojtasek, ranked 18th in the Central Region, claimed a straight-set win over the region's 14th-ranked player, Abdul-Aal, 6-2, 6-2. Four of the other five singles matches were straight-set CWRU wins, with freshman Siddharth Rajupet earning a 6-4, 7-6 win at second singles over Garcia, sophomore Rob Stroup besting Sinense 6-1, 6-1 at third singles, Concannon claiming a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Cole at fifth singles, and freshman Rajeev Laungani defeating Alex Guthrie 6-0, 6-1 at sixth singles. The one three-set match also fell in the Spartans' favor, with senior Josh Dughi defeating Siciliano 7-5, 5-7, 10-4 at fourth singles to complete the sweep.
John Carroll fell to 11-7 on the campaign with the loss.
With a special 'Senior Day' lineup for the second match of the day against Franciscan, the Spartans maintained their level of play from the first match, claiming each of the three doubles matches in quick succession, and each by an 8-2 score. First to finish was third doubles, where senior Adam Collins and Dong defeated David Freytag and Jack Galla. Fojtasek and Gruber made it a 2-0 score with a win over Jarek Sulak and John Gallagher at no. 1 doubles, and Dughi and Daum extended the lead to 3-0 with a victory over Richard Watson and Connor Jooste at second doubles.
CWRU won all six singles matches in straight sets, with Fojtasek topping Sulak 6-0, 6-0 at first singles, Dong claiming a 6-2, 6-1 win over Gallagher at second singles, Dughi besting Freytag 6-1, 6-1 at third singles, Daum earning a 6-4, 6-0 win over Watson at fourth singles, Collins defeating Jooste 6-2, 6-1 at fifth singles, and Gruber rounding out the team win with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Galla at sixth singles.
The Barons dropped to 10-10 on the year after their Saturday setback to the Spartans.
Prior to the start of the Franciscan match, the Spartans also honored their five graduating senior players – Collins, Daum, Dong, Dughi and Gruber – who likely were playing in the final matches of their collegiate careers on Saturday. Together, the group of seniors helped the team go a combined 78-32 durinf their four seasons with the team, while leading the team to the NCAA Division III Quarterfinals in 2014 and the Round of 16 in 2016. The group was also key in the team's third-place finish at last year's ITA Indoor Team Championships, as the team climbed to as fifth in the national rankings, the highest ranking in the program's history.
With the regular season complete, the Spartans will now await the announcement of the field for the NCAA Division III Championships. Teams selected to the NCAA Championship field will be announced on NCAA.com by noon Eastern Time on Monday, May 8th, while NCAA singles and doubles selections will be posted by 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 10th.