Men's tennis @ Robert Morris & Duquesne

The Carnegie Mellon men’s tennis team had a busy weekend playing matches against Robert Morris and Duquesne universities Friday at home before competing in the Allegheny Invitational Saturday in Meadville, Pa. The Tartans demolished Robert Morris before falling to Duquesne. The team bounced back though, winning the Allegheny Invitational.

Head coach Andy Girard said he’s excited about the season ahead. “The team should be very strong this year,” he said. “We’re young, but if they play as well as they can, they should be top 10 in the nation.”

Friday morning, the Tartans started off strong, crushing Division I opponent Robert Morris by an overall score of 8–1. First-years Bobby MacTaggart and Matt Belenky both hit the ground running as they began their college careers. They defeated senior opponents by scores of 6–3, 6–0 and 6–1, 6–1, respectively. Another first-year, Alex Nemerov, lost an epic match 6–7 (0), 6–4, 0–1 (10).

“There are a couple new freshmen who should make an immediate impact,” Girard said.

Team veterans, including sophomores Ravi Raghavan, Payom Dousti, James Muliawan, and Nikola Ljuboja and juniors Spencer Svetcov and Yiran Liu played well, going undefeated in singles and doubles against Robert Morris.

Later in the day, Carnegie Mellon lost 2–7 to Division I Duquesne University. Despite the score line, there were several close matches. Liu lost a hard-fought match that was ultimately decided by a few points, 6–4, 4–6, 0–1 (7). Junior Jon Spero (6–3, 6–2) and MacTaggart won, though MacTaggart came back from the brink of defeat in a 5–7, 7–6 (10), 1–0 (8) victory.

“We knew coming in that Robert Morris would be a good tune-up for Duquesne. We played well against Robert Morris and really took care of business. Duquesne is one of the best teams we will play all season and we had extra motivation because we really lost a heartbreaker to them last year. We played well, especially in singles, but unfortunately we came up short against a very strong team,” Spero said.

“Facing college players was similar to facing some players I’ve played in USTA (United States Tennis Association) tournaments, but some of the guys play at a higher level from what I’m used to. I hope to make some adjustments and show them up next time,” Belenky said.

On Saturday, the Tartans traveled to Meadville, Pa. for a rain-plagued team tournament in which they played Case Western Reserve University and host Allegheny College.

The Tartans took Case to task. In singles, Nemerov, Spero, and Svetcov lost a total of three games; Nemerov embarrassed his opponent 6–0, 6–0, Spero trounced his 6–1, 6–0, and Svetcov won 6–1, 6–1. The Tartans were equally dominant in doubles.

The championship match between Carnegie Mellon and Allegheny was shortened due to rain; only seven matches were played. That just meant the Tartans could get the job done quicker, prevailing 5–1. Carnegie Mellon swept the doubles with Ljuboja and Muliawan (8–6), MacTaggart and Raghavan (8–2), and Nemerov and Spero (8–1) winning. Spero and Nemerov both won in singles.