Ending the season with a split victory, JCU Tennis will await OAC tournament play


JCU Sports Information Department

Grant Sarnowski has worked hard in the No. 2 singles spot this season for the Blue and Gold.

Michael Gallipoli, Staff Reporter

This past weekend both the John Carroll University Men’s and Women’s Tennis teams took on a very talented Otterbein squad in hopes of adding a much-needed win in the final regular season game of the year. While the Men’s team took care of business 5-4, the Women’s team fell short 7-2 against this Ohio Athletic Conference opponent.

Women’s Tennis

In recent years, the John Carroll’s Women’s Tennis team has been the team to beat at the top of the OAC. However, all good things must come to an end. Otterbein has risen to the top with their win over John Carroll in the match-up on Fri., April 21. The Cardinals defeated the Blue Streaks with a score of 7-2 in Westerville, OH.

The Blue Streaks ended their regular season with a record of 5-11 and a 5-2 mark in OAC play following their defeat to Otterbein. Despite their close matches, their loss can be attributed to a doubles sweep. Mia Zivkovic ‘24 and Felicity Kolb ‘26 lost 8-4 at No. 1 doubles while Kaylyn Gimbel (graduate student) and Caroline Chandler ‘25 suffered a similar score at No. 2 doubles. Peyton Crumpler ‘25 and Emma Boreman ‘26 won one more game at the No. 3 doubles but still lost the match.

Zivkovic, one of the conference’s top players, lost to Otterbein’s Erin Storrer, while Kolb also suffered a loss at No. 2 singles. On a positive note, Gimbel secured a win at No. 3 singles, winning the opening set 7-6 with a dramatic 10-5 tiebreaker before sealing the match with a 6-1 victory in set two.

At No. 4, Chandler fought hard but ultimately lost 5-7, 1-6, while Boreman suffered a quicker defeat at No. 6. Crumpler secured the Blue Streaks’ other victory at No. 5 with a 6-2, 6-4 triumph, setting the final score.

The Blue Streaks will open up OAC tournament play on Wed., April 26 as they host Marietta College for the quarterfinal match at the Short Family Tennis Center. Competition will commence at 3:30 p.m. weather permitting. 

Men’s Tennis

Just a year ago, John Carroll was knocked off the top spot in the Ohio Athletic Conference. However, the Blue Streaks were quick to reclaim their spot as champions this season.

By winning a 5-4 match against the Otterbein Cardinals, the Blue Streaks secured a share of the OAC Regular Season Championship. This marks their seventh regular season crown in eight seasons (excluding the lost 2020 season).

Prior to this win, the Blue and Gold needed a victory to stay in the running after losing 7-2 to Ohio Northern earlier in the season. Otterbein had also defeated Ohio Northern earlier in the season, making this a critical match for both teams.

Although Otterbein won the No. 2 doubles by a score of 8-2 over Kevin Wacnik ‘25 and Anthony Markello ‘26, the Blue Streaks quickly recovered and made a big comeback. 

Phillip Gorun ‘26 and Nathan Palinkas ‘23 displayed a formidable performance on the tennis court, winning their doubles match 8-5 at the No. 3 spot to level the score. This set up an intense competition at the No. 1 spot where juniors Logan Langovsky and Grant Sarnowski represented JCU. The top doubles team for JCU put up a fierce fight, eventually prevailing with an 8-6 triumph.

With a crucial 2-1 advantage in their favor, JCU entered the singles play. Gorun made quick work of his opponent at No. 6 singles, winning 6-0 and 6-1 respectively. However, Markello lost to a formidable opponent at No. 3 with a final score of 2-6 and 1-6 respectively.

Wacnik secured a convincing win at No. 4 singles, extending JCU’s lead to 4-2 and putting the Cardinals in a precarious position. Wacnik won the first set 6-3 and triumphed in the second set with a 7-6 win thanks to a 7-5 tiebreaker.

Langovsky stumbled in the first set of his match, losing 4-6 before rallying back to win the second set 6-3. However, he could not maintain his momentum and lost the third set 6-2 against Otterbein’s No. 1 player.

Palinkas put up a valiant effort at the No. 5 spot, winning the first set 7-6 (7-3 tiebreaker). Despite a closely contested second set, Palinkas emerged victorious with a 7-5 score prompting his teammates to rush to his side on the court.

In the No. 2 singles match, Sarnowski battled Joshua Mammen, the reigning OAC Athlete of the Week, in a long and grueling contest. Despite losing the first set 4-6, Sarnowski won the second set 6-2 and put up a tough fight in the deciding third set, eventually falling to Mammen with a 7-6 victory (7-4 tiebreaker).

JCU finalized a 5-0 victory over the Capital Comets on Tues., April 25 as they advance in the OAC tournament. The squad will travel to Mason, Ohio to take on Ohio Northern on Fri., April 28 for the semifinals match.