Men’s tennis defeats West Virginia Wesleyan College 7–2

Despite a week-long setback due to the recent blizzard, the Carnegie Mellon men’s tennis team hit the ground running in its first season match against Division II West Virginia Wesleyan College, wiping out the Bobcats 7–2. The Tartans moved to 4–1 overall with this win and are gearing up for the ITA Indoor National Championships this weekend.

The Tartans quickly took the lead against the Bobcats, going up 3–0 after a sweep from the doubles teams. The ITA doubles champions, the duo of seniors James Muliawan and Niko Ljuboja, added a point to the total at first doubles. Initially down 3–6, they rallied back to narrowly win 9–8 (7). The young team of first-year Duke Miller and sophomore Jeremy King knocked out their opponents 8–6 to take the second point. Completing the sweep at third doubles were juniors Alex Nemerov and Bobby MacTaggart, also winning 8–6.

“Niko and I had quite a scare in our doubles,” Muliawan said, “but since we’ve played together so much we were able to pull it out at the end. Indoors is coming up in a week, with very difficult teams, so this was a good warmup.”

“WVW is a ranked [Division II] team with good players in their whole lineup, so we were happy with a win,” senior Jon Spero observed. “We came out flat in doubles, which [assistant coach] Mike wasn’t happy with, but we raised our level when things got tight.”

The Tartans continued their momentum into the singles portion of the dual match, taking four of the six singles. MacTaggart and Nemerov dropped both their singles, but to very good opponents.

Muliawan defeated his opponent in a battle 7–5, 6–4, after being down 2–5 in the first, while Spero outlasted his opponent 6–4, 6–4. First-year Harsha Rao also had a tough match, pulling out the first set 7–6 (1) but easily taking the second 6–2. Miller breezed through his match at number four singles, dropping only three games to win 6–2, 6–1.

“We know our strength is the bottom of the lineup, and this showed, as we won [third through sixth] singles and doubles,” Spero said. “We really needed this win to get us ready for Indoors. We have high expectations for ourselves.”

This season is the first time the Tartans have qualified for the ITA National Indoor Championship, which will be held this weekend at Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota.