The Hillsdale College men’s tennis team defeated University of Findlay 6 – 3 Friday afternoon at home to conclude their second season of GLIAC play 5 – 4.
The Chargers won four singles matches and two doubles matches to decide their final conference match against the Oilers, who finished seventh in the GLIAC.
Freshman Milan Mirkovic picked up a No. 3 singles win 6 – 1, 6 – 0, and paired with freshman Julien Clouette for a No. 3 doubles shutout 8 – 0. Freshman Charlie Adams won at No. 2 singles 6 – 3, 6 – 1.
Junior captain Dugan Delp was a No. 4 singles winner 6 – 1, 6 – 0, and paired with sophomore John Ciraci — who shut out No. 5 singles 6 – 0, 6 – 0 — to win No. 2 doubles 9 – 7.
The Chargers reached two-of-three team goals for this season: finishing above .500, and ranking in the top five in the GLIAC. The Chargers tied for fifth with Northwood University in conference play, and were just shy of being ranked No. 10 in the Midwest.
“We set goals that would be challenging, but still within our reach,” Ciraci said. “We didn’t get a regional ranking this year, which was the toughest of the three, but next year, we are looking to climb even higher on the ladder.”
The Chargers 12 – 8 record doubled last season’s wins, and counted four more conference wins than last year.
“We are excited with our progress, but are not satisfied with where we are right now,” Delp said. “The matches that we won and lost 5 – 4 could have gone either way. We would like to win those decisively and to compete at a higher level with the best teams in the league.”
Ciraci said Hillsdale tennis has shown the most team improvement in the league.
“Not only did we double our wins, but we played strong teams,” Ciraci said. “Our schedule this year is probably tougher than last year, and the teams we beat showed how much better we’ve gotten.”
Head coach Keith Turner said he knew the team would be better this season with four new freshman, but he wasn’t sure how much better.
“I was most impressed by Milan Mirkovic, who was the only player who didn’t visit Hillsdale before he committed,” Turner said. “ It was hard to judge performance through a video, but he has been destroying No. 3 singles all year.”
Turner praised his players’ progress this season.
“It was a great year, and if we can win a tournament match, it will be an unbelievable year,” Turner said. “What we’ve done here is unheard of — to reach this level in only two years. I’m excited to see what we can do in the GMAC next year.”
The Chargers will face Wayne State in the quarterfinals of the GLIAC tournament at 6:45 p.m. on April 21 in Midland, Michigan. Earlier this month, the Chargers fell to the Warriors 5 – 4.
“It will be difficult. We have to come out and play well,” Delp said. “We are excited to leave it all on the court, and leave the GLIAC on a high note.”