Men’s tennis easily overpower opponents

The Carnegie Mellon men’s tennis team has begun the fall season with a bang, winning Allegheny College’s Heath Invitational this past Saturday. In their opening match, the Tartans swept Allegheny 9–0, before defeating a tough Case Western team 8–1 to win the invitational. The Tartans now have a record of 2–0 to start the year.

All three doubles victories came easily for the Tartans against Allegheny, with the first doubles team of first-year Duke Miller and junior Bobby MacTaggart dropping only two games to win 8–2. Seniors Niko Ljuboja and James Muliawan played the second doubles spot, and outplayed their opponents 8–6. Bringing in the third win was first-year Civan Orhan and sophomore Jeremy King, who also won 8–2.

After the doubles matches, the Tartans lost no time getting down to business and putting away all six singles. At first singles, for the first time in his tennis career, Jon Spero led the Tartans with an easy 6–4, 6–2 victory.

About the overall match, Spero said, “The freshmen did well. Some of them struggled early, but most of them got into a good groove after a few games and pulled out their matches pretty easily. I had my college debut at number 1 singles and I was very excited. I played a guy who I trained with before college and it was a good win for me.”
He added jokingly, “Our number 1 doubles team looked really good, and freshmen phenom Duke Miller carried Bobby the whole time.”

At second singles, first-year Harsha Rao fought to victory, dropping the first set 2–6, but rebounded to take the next set 7–5 and the tiebreaker 10–0. Miller took third singles 6–4, 6–1, followed by first-year Jooho Yu, who swept his opponent 6–0, 6–0. Rounding out the last two spots were Orhan and first-year Neil Soni, who won 6–4, 6–1 and 6–2, 6–3 respectively.
Against Case, the Tartans had a tougher time but swept singles and took two of the doubles. Again at first doubles, the team of Miller and MacTaggart added an 8–4 win to go along with the duo of Ljuboja and Muliawan, who won in a close 9–7 victory.

For the singles lineup, coach Andy Girard decided to mix things up. At the first spot, MacTaggart fought a tough opponent but managed to come up on top, winning 7–6 (7–4), 6–3. Muliawan added a win, shutting down his opponent 7–6 (7–1), 6–2, followed by Rao, who had a bit of trouble but won 6–1, 4–6, 10–3. Spero easily won his match at fourth singles, 6–2, 6–3, while Miller and King each added their wins to the total.

“I think the freshmen performed at a level not indicative of true freshmen. They played as though they were upperclassmen, which I was pleasantly surprised to see,” observed assistant coach Mike Belmonte. “The men’s team will be improved from last year and we will look to make another run at NCAA regionals.”

The Tartans have a short three-week break before they travel to Virginia to participate in the ITA Regional Championship hosted by Mary Washington.