The Hillsdale College men’s tennis team split two matches over the weekend, reaching 3 – 3 in conference play. The Chargers dropped a 5 – 4 decision to Wayne State University Saturday afternoon, ending their five-match win streak. On Sunday, the Chargers bounced back to defeat Northwood University 5 – 4. Sunday’s win — the Chargers’ third GLIAC win this season — secured their spot in the GLIAC tournament, a first for the program.
Freshman Milan Mirkovic picked up a No. 3 singles win 6 – 4, 6 – 2 on Saturday. Junior captain Dugan Delp was a No. 4 singles winner 6 – 1, 6 – 4, and teamed up with sophomore John Ciraci to win No. 2 doubles 8 – 5.
Sophomore Justin Hyman paired with freshman Charlie Adams to win at No. 1 doubles 8 – 5.
“It felt good finishing that close with a good team — they finished third in the GLIAC last year,” head coach Keith Turner said.
Hillsdale lost to the Warriors 9 – 0 last season, so Saturday’s score marks improvement.
“The difference between last year and this year was huge,” Delp said. “Although we lost, it gave us good momentum going into Sunday.”
The Chargers toppled Northwood 5 – 4 on Sunday evening, their third win over a regionally-ranked team this season.
Hillsdale swept doubles play for the fourth time in its last six matches.
Adams won at No. 3 singles 6 – 2, 6 – 3, and teamed up with Hyman for a No. 1 doubles win 8 – 2.
Delp picked up a No. 4 singles win 2 – 6, 6 – 3, 6 – 2, rallying after a first set loss to decide the match. Delp joined Ciraci to win at No. 2 doubles 9 – 7.
Hillsdale fell to the Timberwolves 8 – 1 last season, a team coached by Zane Colestock, who has won a combined 34 GLIAC championships in men and women’s tennis.
“Northwood is traditionally one of the best teams in the nation,” Turner said. “They’ve won 20 consecutive GLIAC conference titles.”
Delp said that sweeping doubles was key to beating the Timberwolves.
“To go up 3 – 0 in doubles takes so much pressure off, because then you just have to win two singles, instead of four,” Delp said. “We are using this as motivation to not be content where we are at.”
After this weekend’s performance, the Chargers are set to compete in the GLIAC tournament later this month.
“In our last year in the GLIAC, we are trying to show everyone else in the conference just how good we’ve become in the last two years before we leave for the GMAC,” Ciraci said.
The Chargers have won five of their last six matches, improving their record to 10 – 7 on the season.
Hillsdale will face Tiffin University next Saturday, April 8, with only three matches remaining until the GLIAC tournament.
“Beating three regionally ranked teams is amazing for a second-year program,” Turner said.