Men’s tennis takes trophy at GLCA Invite

Last weekend, the 11th-ranked Carnegie Mellon men’s tennis team took home the crown at the Great Lakes Colleges Association Tournament, overcoming the seventh-ranked Kenyon College and two other schools along the way.

“I can’t say enough about how big this win is,” senior Jon Spero said. “We are definitely one of the hottest teams in the country right now.”

Entering the tournament as the second seed, the Tartans had high expectations going for them. After receiving a bye in the first round, the Tartans faced Calvin College in the quarterfinals. The Tartans easily put down the Knights 5–0 without dropping a set.
After sweeping doubles, first-year Duke Miller closed out his match at the fourth singles position, 6–2, 6–1, followed by fellow first-year Civan Orhan, who won 6–0, 6–4.

In the semifinals, the Tartans encountered slight resistance against number-15 Kalamazoo College. Doubles play went fairly quickly; the Tartans swept doubles again, this time only dropping a combined seven games to give themselves a 3–0 lead. Without missing a step, the Tartans charged full steam ahead in singles, with junior Alex Nemerov beating his opponent at first singles, 6–0, 6–2.

Adding two more wins to complete the six points were Miller, who overcame his opponent 6–2, 6–0, and Spero, 6–4, 6–3.
“Kalamazoo is a top-15 team who plays very good doubles, so I think that shows the level we played at only surrendering seven games,” Spero added. “It was nice to have that cushion because we had some guys struggling physically in singles.”

For the final round of the tournament, the Tartans went head-to-head against seventh-ranked Kenyon. Stillfresh from their match earlier in the day, the Tartans came out swinging only to fall behind the Lords 2–1 after doubles, with the lone win coming from the second doubles team of junior Bobby MacTaggart and Nemerov, 8–4.

Already at a disadvantage, the Tartans soon trailed the Lords in singles play. Despite some intense fighting, five of the six singles matches were down a set, giving a foreboding tone to the outcome of the match. Yet the Tartans hung in and rallied to shift the momentum. MacTaggart added the first singles win to tie the score at 2–2, followed by tremendous comebacks from Miller (1–6, 6–3, 6–2) and Spero (1–6, 6–3, 6–0) at fourth and fifth singles, respectively. Senior James Muliawan clinched the win just 15 minutes later, defeating Kenyon’s Jeremy Polster 5–7, 6–4, 6–3.

Spero was ecstatic. “We knew the match with Kenyon would be a war. It’s always close against them. We had chances to win three doubles but didn’t convert, so we had to win four singles. They have two of the best players in the country, and Coach told us we were going to win the match if we got one of those top two spots.” He added, “We lost five first sets but battled back at three through five. We were just tougher at the end. We are really looking forward to UAAs at home.”

On a hot streak, the Tartans are looking forward to both an increase in national ranking and a dual match at home against Grove City College next Tuesday at 4 p.m.