I have the privilege of breaking down the other matches from the weekend. I won’t waste any time.
#17 Case Western-6 def. #28 Depauw 3:
The preview of this match called for a routine Case Western victory. Honestly, it came to pass pretty much as D3TG predicted. There were definitely some bright spots for Depauw, but overall this was a solid performance from Case. Case returned Senior Kyle Gerber into the lineup, and I think this was just what the lineup needed for this tough weekend.
Doubles– Although, Gerber and partner, Freshman Christopher Krimbill, lost 9-7 to Reid Garlock and David Moss. Garlock was really the only bright spot for the Tigers all weekend. This #2 doubles tandem is rock solid and this is big win for Moss and Garlock…does this mean 1 doubles for them? Reason I say that…You’ll see. John Healey and Nic Howe are back together. Coach Woj decided to put this team back together as opposed to Healey and Gerber, as it was at ITA’s (and they did well). Good choice I must say. Healey and Howe are a very good righty-lefty combo who play strong fundamental doubles. They overmatched the duo of Sam Miles and Ben Kopecky (I dunno if it’s that or “Kopecki” as it says on itatennis) 8-4. Healey and Howe will almost definitely be a top 4 doubles team out of the Central. They will be a favorable advantage in most every match. At three doubles Alex Solove and Richard Brunsting took out Eric Vannatta and Andrew Kahn 8-6. So the Spartans and Tigers traded close doubles matches, and I’m sure the Tigers had chances in a match like this. Matches like these are definite swing matches in tight competitive duals, but I really don’t think even if Depauw takes this match they win the match overall. See below.
Singles– Here is where the Spartans reap the benefits of Gerber coming back. Will Drougas proved last year that he is one of the top singles players in the region. Opponent Miles last year was good for Depauw, but Drougas is just too steady for Miles. Drougas wins this one 2 and 4. At 2 Gerber made quick work of Kopecky. Gerber proved that whatever reason kept him out last weekend did not hamper him this match. Kopecky was fantastic for the Tigers last year and Gerber dispensed nicely here 2 and 4 as well. Three and four singles have to be the most exciting spots for Case Western. Krimbill has began his college career playing magnificently. Moving down to the 3 spot means a near guarantee every match. He played another Freshman in Alex Kaczkowski and made it seem like Krimbill was a Senior. A score of 2 and 1 against Kackzowski could prove to be an impressive feat, this guy could be good in due time. Eric Klawitter has to be the most improved player on Case Western’s roster. He absolutely torched another player who must have improved to be at the four spot in Eric Bruynseels. Either that or Depauw is banking harder on 5 and 6 and hoping Bruynseels on a good day can take out a good player at 4. Five and six were the only singles matches with any question of who was the better player. The Seniors in the singles lineup of the Tigers were the only bright spots on this day. Moss took out Derek Reinbold in what was sure a slug-fest 6-2, 2-6, 6-3. At six, Garlock closed out Freshman Harrison Smith in a super breaker 6-2, 4-6, 10-8.
Overall– Case proves it is far superior to Depauw this year. A statement that they needed to send to prove that they belong in that Pool C category. Depauw shows it has doubles that can compete and senior leadership at the bottom of singles, but their top of the lineup needs work. Case shows added strength in overall doubles and the top of the singles lineup. They do look to need growth from the bottom two singles spots. At the end of the year 5 and 6 need to be able to close out the tight matches because it so often comes down to the little guys at 4 all… Having said that, am I the only one that noticed the number of starters in Case’s lineup?… Let me know if there is some sort of rule about how many guys you can start.
#4 Wash U-8 def. #28 Depauw-1
No one expected this match to be close. Wash U set the bar high after their performance in NCAA’s last year and Depauw didn’t exactly get a big recruiting class and lost a big piece from last year (Rardon). However, if people recall Wash U wasn’t sitting all too pretty before NCAA’s last year. Most people were in outrage when they were a 1 seed, but when they beat Amherst, that outrage turned to shock. The Bears rode that win to the number 4 ranking. They brought back basically the same team and this year came in possibly a little overrated (see later recaps). Depauw should be happy they were close at a couple doubles and some singles (especially with absence of Moss).
Doubles– As I just mentioned, Moss was MIA for this match and I really think it hurt the Tigers in doubles, and singles for that matter. This made them move the 3 doubles to two and put Garlock with Rico Lumanlon. One doubles put up a fight against team Putterman, but Putt’s proved a little too tough 8-6. Two doubles really showed the weakness of the 3 team at 2. Kevin Chu and Max Franklin are way too solid a team to lose this match and cruised 8-2. Garlock did his best to keep 3 doubles close, but Naveen Chadalavada and Eric Zishka are a little too tough, 8-5 Buurrrrssss.
Singles– Unfortunately for the Tigers Moss would have given them a great shot at both 5 and 6 but Garlock had to move up and Andrew Kahn popped into the 6. Kahn has a huge serve, but doesn’t quite have the consistency to hang with the grinder mentality of 6. Parker Chang looks to have gotten a break in each set to take the match 6-4, 6-3. At 5 singles Garlock continued his solid weekend by moving up a spot and taking out former #2 Gary Parizher 7-6, 6-2. Great win for Garlock…but, what happened to Parizher? Moving from 2 to 5 should mean the Bears can expect him to come through. Honestly, I am surprised by this result (no disrespect to Garlock who is an incredible competitor). At 4, Bruynseels’ tough weekend continued. He lost 4 and 1 to Tyler Kratky. There was some worry about Noack at 3 singles for the Bears. I’m not 100% sure why there is doubt that a guy can’t improve over the course of a summer. Noack will start to prove he deserves to be 3 in this match by taking out Kaczkowski 6-3, 7-5. I really think Kaczkowski will prove to be a good win as he continues to improve with the natural freshman-inflation he will get from match experience. Two singles provided the match of the day as Ross Putterman took out Ben Kopecky in a match of tiebreaks 6-7 (3), 7-6 (1), 10-7. These guys were destined for a grueling match in this one. Both are very tough players and will be very difficult outs, but I don’t see either posing a huge threat to top teams. Adam Putterman continued his dominance in the Central with a routine 3 and 3 win over Miles. Putterman continues to prove he is one of the best 1’s in the nation, no matter how shaky the rest of the lineup may seem to be.
Overall– Wash U made a statement in doubles, but I really think Depauw wins at 2 doubles with Moss there and that possibly changes what happens with 3 doubles, which in turn could swing some of the singles momentum. All that is purely speculative, but if I’m the Bears I’m thankful and take the convincing 8-1 win in stride. Garlock seems to be the big leader of the Tigers this year and will really have to rally the troops if they hope to make any noise. Wash U had to feel pretty good after this win, and I know they were not taking the future match with Case lightly…more to follow.
#17 Case Western- 6 def. #29 UW-Whitewater-3
Everyone but myself predicted Case to win this match. I have to give props to Case, and I want to say, that prediction was strictly under the thought that after the win over Depauw they might be looking ahead to their huge matchup with Wash U the next day. They proved me wrong.
Doubles– I do want to preface this by saying, the Warhawks can’t help but wonder what could have been if they had been able to close out at least one doubles point. The match with Kenyon #2 doubles had chances to close it out, but failed to do so. It happened once again in this match. Andrew Bayliss and Byron Balkin are a strong 2 doubles team, but have seen doubles leads slip away in two matches now (information privilege of Case/WW twitter accounts, thank you!). So, as I said, 2 doubles for the ‘Hawks had the lead but Gerber and Krimbill fought back and prevailed in the tiebreak 9-8. This match was likely the tone setter for the rest of the match and is likely the biggest reason the ‘Hawks couldn’t stage a comeback. The Spartans showed their strength at 1 doubles with an 8-5 victory for Healey and Howe over Mitch Osborne and Ben Shklyar. Sklyar and Osborne are a new tandem as it looks like they have split up the Balkin/Osborne combo that has seen some success. Healey and Howe are putting together an impressive doubles resume at this point. At 3 doubles, Andy McGlashen and Jake Humphreys were ousted 8-5 by Solove and Brunsting in a match that was sure to include some fireworks. Both are very solid pairs at the 3 spot. As everyone but Swarthmore can attest to, it is so tough to go into singles without a point and the Warhawks attempted to do so for the second time against a team that is considered superior. Not a recipe for an upset. Great work by the Spartans to squander the fire before it started, a lot of credit has to go to Coach Woj for preparing these guys so well.
Singles– Well, so much for Case having “the clear edge at 1, 2, and 3”. I will say I was pretty surprised by where the Hawks got their 3 points in this match. Having said that, I think Kenyon may not have been the best judge of Whitewater’s top 2. Ben Shkylar came into the match at 1 clearly wanting to prove he belongs with the top regional players. His 4 and 2 win over Will Drougas should do just that. Drougas is a top tier player this year and for the Hawks to get a point here is a good sign moving forward. At 2 it was a similar story, Byron Balkin pulled off the win over Gerber in a tiebreak. If I’m correct Balkin was down 5-0 in the second set before he came back. Impressive feat. Although, if these two teams meet again I don’t see that happening often…At 3, Krimbill made quick work of McGlashen. This is a very nice win for the freshman Spartan. McGlashen pushed Heerboth earlier this year and Heerboth has proven to be likely the best 3 in the country right now. I see a bright future for Krimbill and the Spartans should feel confident at this spot in most every match. Humphreys continues his trend of three-set barn burners. Klawitter has shown he is a formidable 4 and took it to the Freshman 6-0 in the first set. Humphreys rallied though to take the second 6-3 and the breaker 10-6. This kid is proving he has a ton of heart and will never give up. This might be the Hawks strongest spot at the moment. We thought 5 and 6 were the money spots for Whitewater, but Case proved their depth is just as good. Reinbold was able to beat Bayliss 3 and 5 and Smith came through with a big win over Osborne 4 and 1, to truly squander any hopes at a singles comeback. The Spartans should be very happy with those two wins because pre-match I would have given the edge to the seniors on Whitewater over the young guns of Case, and obviously if those matches go the other way…we all can count.
Overall– For those expecting this to be a barn-burner you may have been disappointed. I still say this was a tight match, but other than 2 doubles I don’t think this match was ever really in question. Case should be proud of their doubles effort and that their young players can come through in singles. This was a mature match for the Spartans and they are going through their very difficult early schedule with workmanlike efficiency. For the Warhawks, they wonder what could have been if they could just get a doubles point. However, they have to be happy with the wins at the top, especially 1 singles.
#29 Whitewater-8 def. #28 Depauw-1
As the previous match could have been a trap for Case, this could have been one for Whitewater. After a tough loss to Case, they had to turn around and play a Depauw team hungry for their first D3 win. The Tigers must have felt confident going into this match knowing they won the meeting last year. However, this is a different team from a year ago on both sides and Depauw was once again without Moss.
Doubles– The monkey is finally off their backs. The ‘Hawks finally get a big doubles win…at all three spots! Honestly, did not see that coming. Osborne and Skylar made quick work of Kopecky and Miles 8-2. This should have been a tightly contested match and I feel like Kopecky and Miles may not have shown their best stuff here. Unacceptable in a match like this. Good win though to keep these guys in the hunt for NCAA’s though. Three doubles of Whitewater was able to oust Garlock and Lumanlan 8-5 (did I mention Depauw looks like they really missed Moss here too). And once again at two doubles we see a tiebreaker. This time, Whitewater is able to pull it out and this was really the icing on the cake in this match. Bayliss and Balkin made sure there would be little chance for the Tigers come singles. Kahn and Makowiecki put up an admirable fight, but this team is definitely their 3 doubles with the full lineup.
Singles– Shklyar continued his impressive play this weekend with a win over Miles at 1, 2 and 4. Miles really had a rough go this weekend going 0-6 in doubles and singles. Normally I would say he is a very strong player, but I think this weekend showed he has a lot of improving to do if he wants to be considered a top player in the Central. With these two wins for Shklyar look out for him the rest of the way. His only D3 loss right now is to Burgin (although he did not play in the match vs. Wheaton who has Ryan Kreis, Kreis is a very solid player and would have been an interesting match). Kopecky put up a great fight at 2 singles, but Balkin prevailed in a tight 6-2, 7-6 decision. The 3 match was a dogfight between Kaczkowski and McGlashen. McGlashen’s experience is what likely pulled him through 6 and 6. Once again, Humphreys got rolled in the 1st set only to bounce back and win in a super at 4. Bruynseels has to be disappointed, because I’m sure he was hungry for the win and could almost taste it after the first set. Well done by the freshman Humphreys. Six singles again saw Kahn in again and Osborne was just too strong winning 4 and 2. It looks to me there is a clear drop off without Moss in for the Tigers, hopefully whatever is keeping him out isn’t too concerning. Once again, the lone bright spot for Depauw was Mr. Garlock. At 5, he put together a solid match against Bayliss and convincingly won the super breaker 10-2. If only the rest of the Depauw lineup could play with his heart and enthusiasm this match score could have been closer. Props to him for a perfect singles record this weekend against 3 tough opponents.
Overall– This was a statement win by the Warhawks. After their loss to Case I’m sure people were wondering how they would respond. An 8-1 win over the Tigers is a big step forward for the program and they now have a strong base to jump from. They finally find some cohesion to their doubles and were able to pull off a close win at 2 which has been a problem. If I’m the Hawks I am happy with the weekend, but I know there is much work to be done still. As for the Tigers…It wasn’t what they were hoping for with three big home matches. I’m sure they were expecting to at least have closer scores especially in this match (match score that is). One thing they can say is they were missing a big piece for the latter two matches. Unfortunately, even with Moss, I don’t see this team making too much noise this year and they may struggle to hold on to their ranking this year.
#17 Case Western-6 def. #4 Wash U-3
I was the only one to predict this outcome, and I’ll tell you why. Last year, not many people bought in the Bears until they beat Amherst in NCAA’s. This match was the Bears first real test of the season and they had all the pressure on them. For years Wash U has sat atop the UAA with Emory and last year they began to show signs of mortality. Although there were close scores I don’t think this match was ever in doubt. That has to be a testament to the strength of the Spartans this year, and no one can deny they have started their season on an absolute tear.
Doubles– The Putterman combo vs. Healey and Howe was definitely the most exciting doubles point of the day. An 8-6 decision for Case is exactly as I would have expected. Both Putterman’s are great players, but the doubles chemistry of Healey and Howe gave them the slight edge. After this weekend, Healey and Howe have really cemented themselves as a top 4 doubles team in the region. It will be interesting to see how consistent Wash U can be at 1 doubles because I really think the Putterman’s don’t have the doubles prowess of say the GAC, Kenyon and Case combos. Two doubles was a statement match for Krimbill and Gerber as they manhandled Chu and Franklin, a tough team, 8-2.. I am impressed with this team as they really must have played well. Three doubles for Wash U made sure Case knew the Bears would not go quietly. 8-3 to the tandem of Farah and Kratky. An emphatic win for them there and they really needed that to stay in this match. Ultimately, 1 doubles was the swing match and Case held on nicely.
Singles– It was pretty certain that Adam Putterman would come through in this match as he is the more experienced and has much bigger credentials. He left no doubt that he is still one of the best in the Central with his 3 and 1 rout of Drougas. Drougas has a bit of work to do, but I think he will still find himself in the top 8 before NCAA’s..Ross Putterman looks to be struggling out of the gates at 2 for Bears. He had a close call with Kopecky and got beat handily by Gerber 2 and 3 here. I was expecting this match to be a lot closer and frankly Gerber bounced back nicely after his collapse against Balkin. If Gerber can produce like this, I like Case’s odds. Reason I say that, Krimbill came up clutch in this one. He looks to be the strongest position at the moment. He played well last weekend at 2 and moving him to 3 gives the singles lineup a nice boost. Noack proved in this match that he is a formidable 3 and although he may have been up and down at 6 last year has improved tremendously. If Putterman continues to struggle and Noack improves, he could find himself playing 2. Which in reality, isn’t music to Bears’ fans ears. Klawitter played a solid match at four to edge Kratky 4 and 4. Kratky is a bit of wild-card for Wash U it seems. I think he has the capability to win big matches, but I really don’t know how consistent he will be for them. Klawitter continues to show he can be a rock for the Spartans. Here is where I just can’t figure out Wash U. Parizher played 2 singles for them last year and was successful for them. Yet, this year he is playing 5 and lost to both Garlock and Reinbold. Nothing against those guys because I think they are both great 5 singles players, but if you played 2 the year before I really think those are matches you have to win for your team. The assumption had to be that Parizher would be a lock at 5 and he has proven otherwise. Maybe he is in a slump, and for the Bears’ sake let’s hope so. Farah tried to put the team on his back by picking up wins at both singles and doubles, but his efforts left the team just short. A very nice 5 and 6 win over Smith for him. It’s hard to know what to think of Smith right now after his losses to Garlock and Farah and his win over Osborne. I think he needs to continue to develop, but when does he will be a great 6.
Overall– Say what you want about Wash U being down, Case being genius’ at scheduling, and whatever else. This was a monumental win for the Case Western program. Three years ago they never would have dreamed of beating Wash U handily 6-3 and this weekend they did just that. Wash U returned basically their entire team from last year and that team got 4th in NCAA’s. No matter what you want to say about certain players and whether or not they are playing worse, Case plain and simple BEAT Wash U. Case has extremely tough doubles and a rock solid singles lineup from top to bottom. They’ve won every match 6-3 or better and have beaten 5 ranked teams. They deserve a lot of credit and I sincerely hope people stop trying to belittle an awesome accomplishment for this team. For Wash U, there is a lot of work to be done. Their singles lineup has a lot of question marks and I don’t know what their other options are. In the end, I don’t think we can say any metaphorical baton has been passed, but as Bob Dylan would say, “The times they are a changing.”…in the UAA.
(Note: Once again you‘ll count 10 players in the lineup for Case.)
Bonus: Chicago-6 def. #30 Denison-3
The tough start for Denison continues. The interesting start for Chicago continues. It looks like some issues in Chicago’s doubles has been resolved and Denison continues to struggle at the top of singles. Denison is clearly out of the top 30 after their loss to Earlham, but this loss proves that Denison didn’t just “lay an egg”. For Chicago, this is the beginning of their quest for a top 30 ranking.
Doubles– Good to see the Maroons put out a real #1 doubles team. This was a close match that Denison is lucky to have gotten. Had they not have won this in the breaker this match could have gotten really out of hand. The ‘Roons put out Deepak Sabada and Krishna Ravella, but Juan Guerra and Grant Veltman were able to squeak it out 9-8. At 2 Chicago rolled to an 8-3 win. This is a very reassuring sign that Chicago can put a good one doubles team out and still be strong at 2 and 3. Three doubles won by a score of 8-5 and that capped the doubles that was heavily sided towards Chicago (for once).
Singles– Sabada absolutely dismantled Guerra 1 and 2. Sabada, we have already seen, is a step below a lot of the top guys in the Central and the fact that Guerra didn’t really compete is a bad sign. Maybe Sabada found his stride in this match, but Guerra has really struggled so far this year. Two singles was a little closer, but Bhargava held on over Veltman 6 and 2. Bhargava continues to be a bright spot for Chicago and he looks to be the leader in the singles lineup. Casey Cempre bounced back nicely after doubles to take out Jake Crawford in three sets. Crawford showed signs that he will be tough, but he still has some maturing to do. For Cempre, he is really going to need to step up this year if Denison has any shot to get some big wins. The match of the day at 4 singles went to Andrew Marczek over Alex Golovin 6-7, 6-4, 10-6. Not a whole lot to say about this one other than these two are clearly very evenly matched and either one could win on a given day. Thus far, the only close matches have gone the way of the Big Red and they are lucky otherwise this would have been ugly. Gordon Zhang continues his solid play as he took out Graham Gettel 3 and 3. Finally, at 6, Dension made a change putting Shankar Rajupet in. He put up a good fight, but Harrison Abrams squeezed it out 2 in the third. Honestly, both teams look to be pretty weak at this spot.
Overall– This one really hurts Denison. Their schedule looks rough from here on out. They play no one and they are clearly inferior to Kenyon. Maybe they have a long-shot against Depauw, but I don’t think so. Denison needs to continue to build and mold players this year and hope they can put things together next year…sorry. Chicago looks like they are still fitting the pieces together. Coach Tee is doing a good job keeping these guys ready and making changes when necessary. I’m impressed with the progress in doubles and if that’s a sign for the future, things look good.