Kanagasegar Named First CWRU UAA MVP; Headlines Five Spartans on All-UAA Team

Kanagasegar Named First CWRU UAA MVP; Headlines Five Spartans on All-UAA Team

Case Western Reserve University sophomore Nithya Kanagasegar was named the University Athletic Association Most Valuable Player, and was among five Spartans who received all-conference recognition, following their performances at the 2016 UAA Championships in Altamonte Springs, Florida last weekend.

Kanagasgar became the first Spartan in 29 years of UAA competition to be named the conference's Most Valuable Player, after going 3-0 as both the team's first singles and doubles player.  Kanagasegar and senior Sara Zargham were named to the All-UAA First Team for their play at no. 1 doubles, while Kanagasegar also earned All-UAA Second Team recognition at no. 1 singles. 

Kanagasegar is one of just two Spartans in program history to earn all-conference recognition at no. 1 singles, joining Naomi Snyder, who was an honorable mention at no. 1 singles in 1994.

Also earning All-UAA First Team honors were seniors Michelle Djohan and Surya Khadilkar, who won all three of their second doubles matches during the week.  In addition, senior Taylor Sweeney was named to the All-UAA Second Team at fourth singles after winning each of her three fourth singles matches during the UAA Championships.

Prior to this season, no Spartan had ever received All-UAA First Team recognition, and just one doubles team had received an All-UAA honor.  The four total All-UAA selections were the most in a single season in the program's history, and only the second time that the team has had multiple all-conference honorees in a season.

Kanagasegar won all three of her matches at first singles, defeating Chicago's Ariana Iranpour (ranked second in the Central Region) 6-4, 6-4, Rochester's Christine Ho 6-2, 6-1, and Brandeis' Haley Cohen 3-6, 6-4, 10-7.  In first doubles matches with Zargham, she topped Chicago's Rachel Kim and Lucy Tang (ranked third in the region) 8-4, Rochester's Ho and Camila Garcia (ranked seventh in the Northeast Region) 8-3, and Brandeis' Olivia Leavitt and Cohen 8-4.  For the season, Kanagasegar, ranked seventh in the region, is 15-10 overall in singles matches.  In doubles action with Zargham, the duo has gone 12-7, and is ranked eighth in the Central Region.  It was the first career All-UAA honor for both Kanagasegar and Zargham.

Djohan and Khadilkar went 3-0 in second doubles matches during the UAA Championships, with an 8-4 win over Chicago's Tiffany Chen and Stephanie Lee, an 8-0 win over Rochester's Lauren Zickar and Alex Wolkoff, and an 8-2 victory over Brandeis' Sophia He and Charlotte Aaron.  The duo improved to 12-2 overall on the season with the three wins.  This was the second career All-UAA honor for both Djohan and Khadilkar, after Djohan claimed second team honors at no. 2 singles in 2015, and Khadilkar claimed second team honors at no. 5 singles in 2014.

Sweeney claimed her first career All-UAA honor, after winning each of her three no. 4 singles matches in straight sets.  She claimed a 7-6 (2), 7-5 triumph over Chicago's Kaela Bynoe on Friday, a 6-4, 6-2 win over Rochester's Wolkoff on Saturday, and a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Brandeis' Emily Eska on Sunday.  Sweeney, the team captain, has gone 16-7 overall this season, including a 7-1 mark at fourth singles.

The Spartans, ranked 20th in Division III, went 2-1 at the 2016 UAA Championships to finish fifth in the conference.  The team picked up 9-0 wins over the University of Rochester and 30th-ranked Brandeis University, with its only setback coming in a tournament-opening 5-4 loss to the 16th-ranked University of Chicago.

Case Western Reserve ended its regular season with an overall record of 14-5.  The Spartans will now await the team and individual selections to the NCAA Division III Championships.  Team selections will be posted to NCAA.com by noon on Monday, May 9th, while individual selections will be released on Wednesday, May 11th at 7:00 p.m.