The Hillsdale men’s tennis team blanked Cedarville University 9 – 0 on Saturday. The Chargers’ record moved to 8 – 6 overall and 4 – 0 in the G-MAC.
Hillsdale swept doubles play, scoring an overall 24 – 9, and won all six singles matches in straight sets.
Sophomore Milan Mirkovic won No. 1 singles 6 – 3, 6 – 3, and joined with sophomore Julien Clouette to win No. 3 doubles.
Mirkovic was the third Charger named G-MAC tennis Player of the Week this season, but the first to receive the honor back-to-back weeks. He’s won seven out of his last eight matches.
Sophomore Charlie Adams took No. 2 singles 6 – 4, 6 – 1. Senior captain Dugan Delp won No. 3 singles 6 – 4, 6 – 1.
Junior John Ciraci was a No. 4 singles winner 6 – 3, 6 – 3, and sophomore Michael Szabo took home a 6 – 0, 6 – 3 No. 5 singles win.
Freshman Gabe Katz beat Cedarville sophomore Jeremy Hoover 6 – 2, 6 – 0, at No. 6 singles.
Ciraci and Delp won No. 1 doubles 8 – 4. Szabo and Adams together for the first time in the 2018 season, took No. 3 doubles.
The International Tennis Association named the Hyman and Adams doubles team 46th in the NCAA.
Head coach Keith Turner said Cedarville was a weaker team compared to their upcoming opponents and gave the Chargers a chance to rest junior Justin Hyman, who has an injured tricep.
“We have a pretty strong team this year,” Turner said. “It’s nice to have a short stretch here where we’re playing some easier, stress-free matches. It’s going to be much tougher next week.”
Szabo said sweeping a G-MAC opponent always feels good but that multiple matches per week can tire the team.
“I think we’re all getting to that point in the season where everyone is a little tired but we’re just started our conference play, so we’re really trying to push right now because we’re expected to do really well in the conference,” Szabo said.
Szabo said their coach stressed performing well throughout conference play, even if the NCAA tournament may be out of reach.
“So coach has been emphasizing that and I think we’re seeing it translate to our match results, because we’ve been doing really well.”
Szabo said he’s confident Hillsdale can go undefeated in the G-MAC.
“I think we can finish 8 – 0, because we’ve played everyone in the G-MAC and we’ve beaten everyone, obviously. But again, we’re trying not to get complacent,” Szabo said. “We know we should be better teams than the teams that we’re playing, but we also know that we can slip up at any point.”
The Chargers will play three matches in five days next week,
Delp said beating tougher teams on the road first gave the Chargers a home advantage
“ Our tougher two opponents are Findlay and Walsh and we’ve got both of them at home, which should be fun,” Delp said. “They are both good teams and definitely after having beat them once they’re going to come to our home courts with lots of fire and no pressure… We can’t get lax for the rest of the season, for sure.”
After Cedarville, the Chargers will face Spring Arbor and Lewis, one of the best teams the Chargers will face this year, Turner said.
Turner said the Chargers planned a few weaker opponents to prepare for competition against Walsh and Findlay in two weeks, two of the toughest teams in the G-MAC.
“I’m not even sure making the [NCAA] tournament is an option anymore,” Turner said. “With our tough loss to Tiffin, that may have taken us out of it. It’s still a match where we can make a name for ourselves.”
The Chargers will face Cedarville University on Saturday at 12 p.m. in Cedarville, Ohio.