CLEVELAND – The No. 23 nationally ranked Case Western Reserve University women's tennis team rallied to win a 5-4 thriller against No. 12 University of Chicago then posted a 9-0 shutout of Allegheny College (Pa.) on Saturday at the Cleveland Skating Club.
The Spartans improve to 2-1 for the season. Chicago drops to 1-2, and Allegheny dips to 1-3.
In the opening match of the day against Chicago, the Spartans built a 2-1 edge after doubles. The No. 2 tandem of junior Surya Khadilkar (Broadview Heights, Ohio/Hawken School) and senior Marianne Bonanno (Clayton, Ohio/Northmont) were first to finish, defeating their opponents 8-3.
A hard fought battle at No. 3 also resulted in a win for the Spartans as the team of junior Michelle Djohan (Westlake, Ohio/Westlake) and sophomore Sarah Berchuck (Dallas, Texas/Baylor School & Suffield Academy) won a nail-biter, 9-8.
In singles, the Spartans dropped points at No. 1, No. 2 and No. 4 as the Maroons moved ahead 4-2.
However, Bonanno rallied to win at No. 3 (3-6, 6-3, 6-2) and Khadilkar won at No. 5 (6-1, 7-5) to tie the match at 4-4.
In the deciding match, Berchuck came from behind at No. 6 (2-6, 7-5, 6-4) as the Spartans completed the 5-4 victory.
"We were down 4-2 with three singles left to play and the girls refused to give up," said Head Coach Kirsten Gambrell. "We have been on the other side of these matches before, and it is never fun, but we kept working hard. To see the work pay off is very rewarding."
During the second match of the day against Allegheny, the Spartans swept all nine matches.
Bonanno was once again a singles winner, moving up a spot to No. 2. A number of youngsters picked up wins as well.
"I couldn't be more proud with the way our team competed today," said Gambrell.
The Spartans will be back in action next Saturday, February 14 at No. 32 Oberlin College at 9:00 a.m.