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Junior Dugan Delp hits a shot in a match last year. (Photo: Anders Kiledal / Hillsdale Col­legian)

After com­peting at Hilton Head Beach and Tennis Resort in South Car­olina during spring break — going 2 – 1 to reach .500 on the season — the Hillsdale College men’s tennis team swept Spring Arbor Uni­versity 9 – 0 at home on Tuesday evening. The Chargers are 7 – 6 on the season, sur­passing a .500 record for the first time since the program’s inception.

“It was a good way to end the trip on a high note,” head coach Keith Turner said. “We have the strongest singles lineup in the region. If we can win two-thirds of doubles a match, we will dom­inate.”

On Tuesday, Hillsdale won six singles flights in straight sets. The Chargers dom­i­nated, only allowing the Cougars to score above 6 – 2 in just one of 12 matches.  

Sophomore Justin Hyman con­tinued his six-match singles win streak 6 – 2, 6 – 1, at No. 1 singles. After his per­for­mance, Hyman was named GLIAC Player of the Week. 

Freshman Charlie Adams was a No. 2 singles winner 6 – 0, 6 – 0, and junior Dugan Delp picked up a No. 3 singles win 6 – 1, 6 – 0. Sophomore John Ciraci won at No. 4 singles 6 – 1, 6 – 1. Freshman Julien Clouette was vic­to­rious at No. 5 singles 6 – 2, 6 – 1, fol­lowed by sophomore Jerry Hewitt’s No. 6 win 6 – 2, 6 – 4. 

The Chargers dom­i­nated doubles matches for the third time this season. Hyman and Adams won at No. 1 singles 8 – 4. Ciraci and Delp shut out the Cougars at No. 2 doubles, 8 – 0, and Clouette and Hewitt com­pleted the sweep with a win at No. 3 doubles. 

Freshman Milan Mirkovic stands 10 – 0 in singles matches, and Hyman went unde­feated during spring break.

To start the week in Hilton Head, the Chargers fell to West Liberty Uni­versity — ranked No. 3 in the Atlantic region — 5 – 4 Sunday morning. 

Hillsdale won three singles matches, but were defeated in two singles matches and a doubles match, which required a tiebreaker resulting in a frus­trating one-point loss to the Hill­toppers. 

Mirkovic won at No. 3 singles 6 – 0, 6 – 3. Clouette fin­ished strong with a No. 6 singles win 6 – 3, 4 – 6, 10 – 6.

Hyman won at No. 2 singles 7 – 5, 6 – 1, and teamed up with Adams at No. 1 doubles for Hillsdale’s lone doubles win at 8 – 3. 

“It was a heart­break — as close as I’ve been in a match that’s come down to one singles match. It was very even,” Turner said. 

West Liberty was the Chargers’ fifth of 12 matches ending in a 5 – 4 score, showing the team’s improvement and com­pet­itive schedule in the GLIAC and Atlantic region.  

“I put together a tough schedule to place the team in tight sit­u­a­tions. You don’t improve by playing easy teams,” Turner said. 

Last Tuesday, Hillsdale toppled Fairmont State 5 – 4. The Chargers trailed 2 – 1 after doubles play, but fought back to win four singles to decide the match against the second ranked team in the Atlantic region. 

Hyman won at No. 1 singles 2 – 6, 6 – 3, 10 – 7, and Delp was a No. 4 singles winner at 4 – 6, 6 – 3, 10 – 8 — both returning from 1 – 0 deficits. Delp’s tiebreaker win upset the 4 – 4 tie to decide the match.  

Adams won straight sets at No. 2 singles 6 – 2, 6 – 2, along with Mirkovic, who won at No. 3 singles 6 – 3, 6 – 1. 

Hyman and Adams teamed up for a No. 1 doubles win at 8 – 6. 

“We knew it would be a really good win for us,” Ciraci said. “We had just lost, and, coming into the GLIAC games, we knew this win would give us some good momentum going forward —  showing teams we are much better than last year, and that we are going to compete for a higher spot this year.”

The Chargers went on to bulldoze through Kutztown Uni­versity 8 – 1 on Wednesday in 40-degree weather — their final match in South Car­olina. 

Hillsdale dom­i­nated doubles play for the second time this season, winning three matches with a com­bined score of 24 – 11, a welcome split from past doubles trouble. 

Hillsdale won five singles matches in straight sets. Hyman won at No. 1 singles 6 – 1, 6 – 1, and matched with Adams for a No. 1 doubles victory 8 – 1. 

Clouette teamed up with Ciraci to win at No. 3 doubles 8 – 5. 

Clouette was a No. 6 singles winner at 6 – 2, 6 – 0, while Ciraci scored 6 – 1, 6 – 2, at No. 5 singles. 

Mirkovic earned a 6 – 2, 6 – 1 win at No. 3 singles, and then played with Delp — who won No. 4 singles 6 – 1, 6 – 0 — for an 8 – 5 No. 2 doubles win. 

“Our singles lineup had been pulling us through. We could be down after doubles and still make it a close match, but with this new lineup, we can advance in doubles, and win more matches,” Ciraci said.