2015-16 CWRU Women’s Tennis Season Recap

2015-16 CWRU Women’s Tennis Season Recap

The Case Western Reserve University women's tennis team ended their 2015-16 season ranked 20th in the final Oracle/ Intercollegiate Tennis Association NCAA Division III National Poll.

The Spartans went 14-5 during the year, the team's highest win total since an 18-6 finish to the 2012 campaign. Case Western Reserve was nationally-ranked throughout the campaign and was featured as high as 19th in the poll during the course of the season, the highest national-ranking in the program's history.  The team went 2-1 at the 2016 University Athletic Association Championships to finish fifth at the event.

The Spartans qualified a pair of athletes for the NCAA Division III Individual Championships, with sophomore Nithya Kanagasegar competing in the singles draw for the second-straight season, and teaming with senior Sara Zargham in the doubles draw.

Kanagasegar ended the season ranked 37th among all NCAA Division III singles players, and seventh among players in the Central Region, finishing the year with a 15-11 overall record.   In addition, two more Spartans were ranked in the final Central Region singles poll, as freshman Jessica Liu (a team-best 17-9 on the year) was ranked 20th, and senior Surya Khadilkar (15-3 on the season) was ranked 25th.

In the doubles rankings, Kanagasegar and Zargham were ranked 19th among all NCAA Division III pairings and third in the Central Region in the final ITA poll.

Kanagasegar was also named the University Athletic Association's Most Valuable Player, becoming the first player in the program's history to earn the honor, after going 3-0 as the team's top singles and doubles player at the conference championships in Altamonte Springs, Florida.  She was among five Spartans who received all-conference recognition, the most in the program's history.

The duo of Kanagasegar and Zargham were named to the All-UAA First Team for their play at no. 1 doubles, while Kanagasegar earned All-UAA Second Team recognition at no. 1 singles.  Also claiming All-UAA First Team honors were seniors Michelle Djohan and Khadilkar, who won all three of their second doubles matches during the week.  Prior to the season, no Spartan women's tennis player had ever been named to the All-UAA First Team.

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.

Khadilkar reached an individual milestone during the season, becoming the winningest player in the program's history.  The senior picked up her 61st career singles win during the Spartans' 6-3 win over Denison University on March 26th to become the program's all-time leader in singles victories, and became the program's doubles-win leader after notching the 62nd victory of her career during the team's win over New York University on April 3rd.  She finished her collegiate career with a 65-27 singles record and a 68-34 doubles mark.

The Spartans played a competitive schedule during the season, with 13 of the team's 19 opponents featured in the ITA National rankings at the time of the match.  Despite the strength of schedule, Case Western Reserve went 8-5 in matches against nationally-ranked opposition over the course of the campaign.

In the fall, the Spartans had a number of outstanding performances at the 2015 USTA/ITA Central Region Championships.  Kanagasegar, who was seeded fifth in the singles draw, advanced to the championship match, where she finished as the tournament's runner-up.  In addition, she teamed with Zargham to finish in the semifinals of the doubles bracket, after entering the draw as the top-seeded duo.  Also advancing to the singles quarterfinals was Liu, who entered the event seeded 14th among the singles players, and topped the 17th- and fourth-seeded players, en route to the final-eight berth.

In addition to the team's success on the court, the Spartans excelled in the classroom as well. Three members of the CWRU women's tennis team were named to the UAA Presidents Council Scholar-Athlete Team. The Spartan athletes earning the honor this year included Djohan, Kanagasegar and Khadilkar.

The CWRU women's tennis team also received the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) All-Academic Award, and seven members of the squad were recognized as ITA Scholar-Athletes. Individual Spartans recognized included seniors Sweeney, Khadilkar, and Djohan, juniors Jennifer Lowe and Kennedy Mulholland, sophomores Kanagasegar and Peyton Young, and freshman Jessica Liu

The Spartans earned the following honors during the 2015-16 season:

NCAA Championship Participant

Nithya Kanagasegar

Crossville, Tenn. / Cumberland County

Singles (Round of 32), Doubles (Round of 16)

Sara Zargham

Torrance, Calif. / California Academy of Math and Science

Doubles (Round of 16)

 

UAA Most Valuable Player

Nithya Kanagasegar

Crossville, Tenn. / Cumberland County

 

All-UAA

Nithya Kanagasegar

Crossville, Tenn. / Cumberland County

First Team 1st Singles, Second Team 1st Singles

Sara Zargham

Torrance, Calif. / California Academy of Math and Science

First Team 1st Doubles

Michelle Djohan

Westlake, Ohio / Westlake

First Team 2nd Doubles

Surya Khadilkar

Broadview Heights, Ohio / Hawken School

First Team 2nd Doubles

Taylor Sweeney

Fort Gratiot, Mich. / Port Huron Northern3

Second Team 4th Singles

 

UAA Athlete of the Week

Jessica Liu

Raleigh, N.C. / Cary Academy

Mar. 21