2017-18 CWRU Men’s Tennis Season Recap

2017-18 CWRU Men’s Tennis Season Recap

The Case Western Reserve University men's tennis team completed another successful season in 2017-18, finishing the year ranked 18th in the Oracle/ ITA Division III Men's Tennis rankings, and ending the campaign with a 17-10 overall record.

The Spartans, who were also ranked seventh in the final ITA Central Region poll, featured a lineup that included senior James Fojtasek, who was ranked 22nd in the region in singles play, while collecting 11 wins  no. 1 singles matches during the spring. He also teamed with sophomore Anthony Kanam to form the region's eighth-ranked doubles team, with the duo going 12-5 overall and 9-4 in no. 1 doubles matches.

The Spartans were 17-8 against Division III opposition during the season, with all eight of the losses coming against nationally-ranked opponents.  CWRU picked up five regular season wins over teams ranked in the final national poll, including a pair of 6-3 wins over #19 Swarthmore, a 6-3 win over #34 Christopher Newport, an 8-1 win over #35 Oberlin and an 8-1 win over #36 Hobart.

The highlight of CWRU's season came during the team's final match of the season, at the 2018 University Athletic Association Championships in Altamonte Springs, Florida.  Playing in the fifth-place match against then 14th-ranked Brandeis, the Spartans fell behind 2-1 early in the match, despite a win from Fojtasek and Kanam at no. 1 doubles.  Back-to-back singles wins from Kanam at third singles and sophomore Siddharth Rajupet at sixth singles helped the Spartans take a 3-2 lead in the match, before a loss at no. 2 singles evened the score at 3-3.  CWRU three remaining players - Fojtasek at no. 1 singles, sophomore Sam Concannon at no. 3 singles and freshman Jonathan Powell  at no. 5 singles - each dropped the first set, before battling back to win the second.  Concannon would put the Spartans a match away from clinching with a 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 win, and Powell secured the team victory with a 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 win at fifth singles.  Fojtasek added a win at no. 1 singles, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, to put an exclamation point on the team win. The triumph over Brandeis gave the Spartans' their highest-ranked win of the year.

At the conclusion of the season, both Concannon and Kanam were selected to the All-UAA Second Team for their play at singles, while Rajupet claimed an honorable mention for his singles effort during the campaign.  Also earning all-conference honorable mentions for doubles were the pairings of Fojtasek and Kanam and Powell and freshman Neil Mabee.

Concannon led the team in singles wins during year, going 29-8 overall, one victory away from the program record for wins in a single season.  Kanam added a 28-10 record in singles play, the third-most wins in a single year, while Rajupet rounded off the team's 20-match winners with a 20-9 record (including an 8-1 mark at no. 6 singles).  In doubles play, Kanam collected a team-leading 25 victories, going 25-16 overall, with freshman Matthew Chen adding a 22-16 record, sophomore Zach Hennessey going 20-5, and Mabee adding a 20-6 mark.

Highlights from the team's fall season included a run to the quarterfinals of the singles draw at the ITA Fall Championships for Concannon, which included wins over three seeded players (including the third overall seed).  In addition, freshman Josh Hsia topped the tournament's no. 9 seed, eventually reaching the round of 32 of the draw, while teaming with Kanam to make the round of 16 of the doubles tournament.

The Spartans navigated their usually challenging schedule during the 2018 spring season, saving some of their best play for the end of the year.  After entering April with a 9-8 record, Case Western Reserve went 8-2 over their final 10 matches, en route to their 17-10 overall finish. Powell helped lead the team during that time period, anchoring the bottom of the lineup by going undefeated in singles play with a 7-0 record, and going 13-3 in doubles matches with Mabee over the last month and a half of the year.

Fojtasek's ended his career as a Spartan with 81 doubles victories, tied for the third-most all-time in program history.  In addition, his 64 career singles victories rank as the fifth-most ever by a CWRU player. Concannon will enter his junior year with 53 singles wins, already the ninth-most ever recorded by a Spartan.

In addition to their success on the court, the program was recognized with an ITA All-Academic Team award and eight Spartans - Fojtasek, Hennessey, Kanam, Rajupet, sophomore Henry Squire, Chen, freshman Earl Hsieh and Mabee - received individual honors.  Fojtasek, Hennessey, Kanam, Rajupet and Squire each also received UAA Spring All-Academic recognition.

The Spartans earned the following awards during the 2017-18 season:



All-University Athletic Association

Anthony Kanam

Canton, Ohio / Jackson

No. 3 Singles

Second Team

 

No. 1 Doubles

Honorable Mention

Sam Concannon

Indianapolis, Ind. / Culver Military School

No. 4 Singles

Second Team

James Fojtasek

Cypress, Texas / Cypress Woods

No. 1 Doubles

Honorable Mention

Neil Mabee

Houston, Texas / Memorial

No. 2 Doubles

Honorable Mention

Jonathan Powell

Norwich, Conn. / The Williams School

No. 2 Doubles

Honorable Mention

Siddharth Rajupet

Pittsburgh, Pa. / Fox Chapel Area

No. 6 Singles

Honorable Mention

 

UAA Athlete of the Week

Matthew Chen

Wynnewood, Pa. / Lower Merion

Sept. 11

Sam Concannon

Indianapolis, Ind. / Culver Military School

Apr. 2

James Fojtasek

Cypress, Texas / Cypress Woods

Mar. 6