GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Goshen College men's tennis team joined 11 other NAIA programs throughout the Midwest at the ITA Regional Championships held at Orchard Hills Tennis Center this weekend.
A total of 64 singles and 32 doubles entries participated in the tournament, including players from seven of the nine Crossroads League teams.
"This tournament gave us an excellent opportunity to compete against arguably the best NAIA players in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio, and to watch some great tennis while not playing," head coach Stan King said. "Overall, I was pleased with the effort of our guys in this tournament. I believe they gained a lot from participating, both on and off the court."
The Maple Leafs' best showing came from senior Csaba Laszlo, who made a run into the quarterfinals of the singles draw. Seeded ninth, Laszlo posted straight-set victories over opponents from Cornerstone University and Northwestern Ohio in the first two rounds of play.
He followed it up with a strong 6-1, 6-3 win in the third round over the seventh-seeded Gustavo Rueda of Northwestern Ohio before eventually being eliminated in a tight 2-6, 6-1, 10-3 loss to #4 seed Thomas Calderone of Spring Arbor.
"Csaba played some of his best tennis of the season in several matches, including his loss to Calderone, an opponent who beat him 6-4, 6-1 in a match played at Goshen earlier in the week," King explained.
Another highlight for Goshen was the play of freshman Jon Kaasa. He dropped his opening match, 6-4, 6-4 to #5 seed Daniel Sanchez of Grace, but then rattled off two straight wins in the consolation draw. He defeated Cornerstone's John Andrew 7-5, 7-6 (4) and then outlasted teammate Krishnan Ganesan 6-3, 7-6 (4).
"There were several times during this match (vs. Cornerstone) when Jon came up with big points at critical times to either stay even or move ahead," King said. "Jon and Krishnan had a good match against each other and I was especially pleased to see Krishnan's patience and good shot selection during the match."
In doubles, the tandem of Kaasa and Ganesan went the furthest for Goshen, making it to the second round of the consolation draw with a 8-2 win over a Huntington duo.
The bad news for the Maple Leafs was a number of injuries that hit the squad over the weekend. Freshman Balazs Pirot suffered an ankle injury in his opening match, and while he finished it out, had to pull out of subsequent matches as well as doubles play entirely. Classmate Thiago Amaral also had an injury during his opening contest and while continuing to play, was "obviously affected," King said.
"Both Balazs and Thiago received help from the trainer on site and both spent a lot of time with ice pack," King added. "We will have to wait and see how much tennis they will be able to play during the coming weeks."
Goshen (2-3) has a heavy road week ahead of them, traveling to Cornerstone on Tuesday, to Marian on Thursday and to Grace on Saturday.
SINGLES - CHAMPIONSHIP DRAW
Jon Kaasa lost to Daniel Sanchez (#5 seed Grace) 6-4, 6-4
Krishnan Ganesan lost to Arjun Bhalla (Huntington) 6-2, 6-4
Daniel Buschert lost to Gustavo Rueda (#7 seed Northwestern Ohio) 6-2, 6-0
Csaba Laszlo def Chris Reed (Cornerstone) 6-2, 6-3
Balazs Pirot lost to Brandon Dubuque (Indiana Wesleyan) 7-5, 6-2
Thiago Amaral lost to Christian Woods (Davenport) 6-1, 6-3
Csaba Laszlo def Sam Rutter (Northwestern Ohio) 6-1, 6-2
Csaba Laszlo def Gustavo Rueda (#7 seed, Northwestern Ohio) 6-1, 6-3
Csaba Laszlo lost to Thomas Calderone (#4 seed, Spring Arbor) 2-6, 6-1, 10-3
SINGLES - CONSOLATION DRAW
Jon Kaasa def John Andrew (Cornerstone) 7-5, 7-6(4)
Krishnan Ganesan def Frankie Fischer (Aquinas) by default
Daniel Buschert lost to Zac Chambers (Davenport) 6-1, 6-1
Balazs Pirot forfeited to Collin Williams (Taylor)
Thiago Amaral lost to Alex McManhan (Indiana Wesleyan) 6-2, 6-2
Jon Kaasa def Krishnan Ganesan 6-3, 7-6(4)
Jon Kaasa forfeited to Nikola Todorovic (Grace)
DOUBLES- CHAMPIONSHIP DRAW
Csaba Laszlo/Balazs Pirot forfeited to Chris Reed/John Andrew (Cornerstone)
Thiago Amaral/Daniel Buschert lost to David Darling/Nathan Scholten (Spr. Arbor) 8-2
Jon Kaasa/Krishnan Ganesan lost to Flip Henrickson/Vitaly Schumilov (#7 seed, Davenport) 8-1
DOUBLES - CONSOLATION DRAW
Thiago Amaral/Daniel Buschert lost to Andrew Voss/Will Dixon (Marian) 8-3
Jon Kaasa/Krishnan Ganesan def Zakk Sparks/Arjun Bhalla (Huntington) 8-2
Jon Kaasa/Krishnan Ganesan lost to Nik Artaev/Andy Struble (Aquinas) 8-3