In the program’s second year of competition, the Hillsdale College men’s tennis team finished fourth in the GLIAC tournament after a 1-2 weekend in Midland, Michigan. The Chargers edged out No. 4 seed Wayne State University 5-4 on Friday evening in the GLIAC quarterfinals before falling to No. 1 seed Ferris State on Saturday and No. 2 seed Grand Valley on Sunday.
On Friday, Hillsdale won two doubles and three singles matches to gain the first postseason win in program history.
Sophomore Justin Hyman picked up a No. 1 singles win 6-2, 6-4, and teamed up with freshmen Charlie Adams — who won No. 2 singles 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 — to win at No. 1 doubles 9-7. Freshman Milan Mirkovic was a No. 3 singles winner 7-6, 6-3. Junior captain Dugan Delp paired up with sophomore John Ciraci to win at No. 2 doubles 8-5.
Hyman’s was against Matt Westkamp, who was named GLIAC Freshman of the Year, was crucial to the 5-4 decision.
“At one point, Wayne State was up 4-2, and there were three close matches on,” Delp said. “All they needed was one of them, but we got all three.”
Head coach Keith Turner said he was satisfied to avenge a 5-4 season loss to the Warriors.
“We had a good regular season, and we accomplished so many goals,” Turner said. “To upset the No. 4 seed and to win a main draw round was great.”
The Chargers fell to Ferris University 5-1 on Saturday morning.
Adams and Hyman paired up to win at No. 1 doubles to beat freshman Till von Winning and sophomore Steward Sell, who are ranked as the 16th doubles team in the nation for Division II.
The Chargers dropped two doubles and three singles matches to seal the Ferris victory. Mirkovic, Adams, and Hyman’s matches were left on the court, following GLIAC tournament rules.
“Even though we lost, it was encouraging that our loss margin shrunk by a lot,” Delp said. “If we have to lose to anyone, we’d like it to be to the eventual champions.”
The Bulldogs — ranked 15th in the country — advanced to win the GLIAC tournament for the second consecutive year.
“Ferris blew us out 9-0 earlier this season when we had injuries, but this time, we made them work for it,” Turner said.
The Chargers fell to Grand Valley State 5-2 on Sunday morning resulting in their fourth-place finish in the tournament.
Adams won at No. 2 singles 7-6, 7-4, 6-3, and paired with Hyman for a No. 1 doubles win 8-3 against the sixth ranked doubles team in the Midwest.
“Even though we lost 5-2, all the matches were tight,” Hyman said.
Turner said that Adams and Hyman, who went 13-2 at No. 1 doubles this season, may receive a regional doubles team ranking in May for their performance against Ferris and Grand Valley.
Adams, Mirkovic, and Clouette were named Second-Team All-GLIAC. Delp was also awarded All-GLIAC honorable mentions.
Hillsdale finished 13-10, more than doubling their wins from last year, while also finishing above .500 in conference play.
“Our team really showed everyone else out there that we can compete with anyone,” Hyman said. “I was really proud everyone showed up and gave 100 percent effort and showed great sportsmanship.”
Turner said that he was satisfied with the team’s progress this season.
“To go from ninth to fourth place is an amazing accomplishment in two years,” Turner said.
Turner said he signed a freshman recruit from Argentina, and that Hillsdale should be the favorite to win the GMAC conference next year.
“We competed well, especially as a second year team, and our placing gives us momentum moving into the new conference,” Delp said. “We have a chance to be really competitive, and hopefully to win the championship next year.”