2018-19 CWRU Men’s Tennis Season Recap

2018-19 CWRU Men’s Tennis Season Recap

The Case Western Reserve University men's tennis team finished the 2018-19 season ranked 12th among NCAA Division III teams, completing the campaign with a 21-9 overall record.

The 21 wins were just one short of the program's single season record.  Included in the mark are nine victories against teams ranked nationally by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association at the time of the match, while all eight of the Spartans' losses to Division III teams during the season came against teams ranked 17th nationally or higher at the time of the match, including five against top-10 teams.  The Spartans notched strong finishes at two of the top Division III tournaments in 2019, placing fifth at the University Athletic Association Championship, going 2-1 in matches at the event, and registering a sixth-place finish at the ITA Indoor National Championships. 

In addition being ranked 12th in the final Oracle/ITA Division III Rankings (the team's highest national ranking during the year), CWRU also ended the campaign ranked fifth in the Central Region.  Individually, sophomore Matthew Chen was ranked 30th among all Division III singles players and ninth in the Central Region, while freshman Aaron Umen ended the campaign ranked 25th among Central Region singles players.  The Spartans also had a pair of doubles teams featured in the ITA's final Central Region rankings, including the 10th-ranked duo of junior Anthony Kanam and sophomore Jonathan Powell, and the 14th-ranked pairing of Chen and junior Zach Hennessey.

Chen and Umen also earned All-UAA First Team honors for their singles play at no. 1 singles and no. 2/3 singles, respectively, while Powell secured All-UAA Second Team honors at no. 4/5/6 singles and freshman Chaitanya Aduru was named an honorable mention to the All-UAA team for his play at no. 5/6 singles.  Earning All-UAA Second Team honors for their play at no. 2 doubles were Chen and Hennessey, while Aduru and Umen received an honorable mention for their efforts at no. 3 doubles.

As a team, CWRU finished the campaign with a singles record of 179-81, good for a .688 winning percentage, including a 119-50 mark (.704) in the spring.  Powell led the Spartans with a 24-3 singles record, which marked the eighth-highest singles win total and second-best percentage (.889) in a single season in program history.

In doubles action, the Spartans combined for a 117-40 record (a .745 winning percentage), including a 64-25 mark (.719) in doubles matches.  Chen was the team's leader in doubles play, going 29-8 to notch the fifth-most singles wins and 12th-best winning percentage (.784) by a doubles player in program history.  Additional 20-match winners in doubles for the Spartans included Aduru (28-9), Hennessey (27-8), Umen (26-10), Powell (25-13), and Kanam (23-15).

Case Western Reserve got off to a strong start to its 2018-19 season with a fall campaign that saw the team go 60-30 in singles matches and 53-15 in doubles play.  After participating three-individual tournaments – The Kenyon Invitational, the Greater Cincinnati Invitational and the Oberlin Invitational – CWRU sent a group of competitors to St. Louis, Missouri for the 2018 ITA Fall Central Region Championships.  At the event, Chen and Hennessey (seeded 11th overall) reached the semifinals of the doubles draw, while Kanam and Powell made the quarterfinals of the doubles draw and Aduru and junior Sam Concannon secured a finish in the round of 16.  Freshman Max Vicario was top-finishing Spartan in the singles draw, finishing in the round of 16 after entering the event seeded 23rd in the field.

The Spartans kicked off their spring seasons with four-straight wins, including an 8-1 over Coe, which was ranked 39th in Division III at the time.  CWRU then turned its attention to the ITA Indoor National Championships, an event the Spartans hosted for the third time in the last four years and fourth time overall.  The Spartans, who were the eighth-seeded team in the field, outperformed expectations with a sixth-place finish at the event.  The highlight of the weekend for the Spartans was a 5-4 win over then 10th-ranked Carnegie Mellon, capped off by a match-deciding 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (3) win from Umen at third singles to lock up the win.

CWRU would go on to claim five more wins over nationally-ranked opponents during the regular season, defeating seventh-ranked Amherst 7-2 on March 15th, 33rd-ranked Rochester 9-0 and 36th-ranked Hobart 7-2 on March 30th, 27th-ranked Kalamazoo 7-2 on April 7th, and 40th-ranked Oberlin 8-1 on April 21st.

The Spartans entered the 2019 UAA Championships in Altamonte Springs, Florida as the fifth-seeded team in the draw.  After opening play with a 5-3 loss to 10th-ranked Brandeis, the Spartans battled back to win two more matches and claim a fifth-place finish.  On April 27th, Case Western Reserve was dominant in a 5-1 win over the University of Rochester (ranked 37th at the time of the match).  The Spartans then finished their campaign by claiming a 5-2 win over 14th-ranked Carnegie Mellon the next day to place fifth in the UAA.  Aduru and Umen won all three of their matches at no. 3 doubles during the UAA Championships, while Aduru and Concannon went 3-0 each at fifth and sixth singles, respectively.

In addition to their success on the court, the Spartans were recognized by the ITA with the All-Academic Team Award.  Eleven individual team members – senior Rob Stroup, juniors Hennessey, Kanam, and Henry Squire, sophomores Chen, Earl Hsieh, Austin Lawrence and Neil Mabee, and freshmen Aduru, Umen and Vicario – were each named ITA Scholar-Athletes, and eight team members – Chen, sophomore Will Grier, Hennessey, Hsieh, Kanam, Lawrence, Mabee, and Squire – received UAA Spring All-Academic Recognition.

As a team, Case Western Reserve also received the ITA's Regional Community Service Award, after organizing a number of community outreach events surrounded the 2019 ITA Indoor Championships in February.

The Spartans earned the following awards during the 2018-19 season:

 

NCAA Individual Qualifier

Matthew Chen

Wynnewood, Pa. / Lower Merion

Singles

Round of 32

 

All-University Athletic Association

Matthew Chen

Wynnewood, Pa. / Lower Merion

No. 1 Singles

First Team

No. 2 Doubles

Second Team

Aaron Umen

St. Louis, Mo. / Ladue Horton Watkins

No. 2/3 Singles

First Team

No. 3 Doubles

Honorable Mention

Jonathan Powell

Norwich, Conn. / The Williams School

No. 4/5/6 Singles

Second Team

Zach Hennessey

Carmel, Ind. / Carmel

No. 2 Doubles

Second Team

Chaitanya Aduru

Austin, Texas / Liberal Arts & Science Academy

No. 5/6 Singles

Honorable Mention

No. 3 Doubles

Honorable Mention

 

UAA Athlete of the Week

Matthew Chen

Wynnewood, Pa. / Lower Merion

March 11

 

The following players were the Spartans' season leaders in 2018-19:

 

Singles Wins

Jonathan Powell

24

Singles Winning Percentage (min. 15 wins)

Jonathan Powell

.889 (24-3)

Doubles Wins

Matthew Chen

29

Doubles Winning Percentage (min. 15 wins)

Matthew Chen

.784 (29-8)