In its first tournament at West Liberty University in West Virginia, the Hillsdale College men’s tennis team began the fall season with a few individual victories at last weekend’s Hilltopper Invitational.
After recognizing Bluefield State University as one of the main competitors at the tournament, freshman Brian Hackman, alongside senior John Ciraci, beat Bluefield in the finals of the “A” doubles draw.
“I messed up a few times under the pressure, but I’ve learned from it. It really was just for experience,” Hackman said. “I’m really happy I got that experience and the fact that we could have won as the No. 2 team, I’m happy about that.”
Although the first two rounds of No. 6 singles he won were not the most challenging according to Hackman, he said he used the opportunity to focus on his footwork and technique.
Hackman says he enjoys being a part of the team so far, and is adjusting well with other team members.
“It’s awesome. I really like all of the guys on the team, and I feel that I fit in well,” Hackman said. “They encourage me and always provide support and advice, so it’s a good time.”
Although Hackman and Ciraci ended up losing a doubles round to Bluefield State, the amount of victories up against No. 1 and No. 2 teams from different universities proved impressive and encouraging to all of the players.
Junior Julien Clouette also experienced his own victories, winning two rounds of singles against Fairmont State University and Charleston University, respectively, and making it to the No. 5 singles flight finals.
“I played pretty well. In the first match, it was little bit more on-and-off,” Clouette said. “But the more the tournament went on, the better I felt I was playing.”
The Chargers are looking forward to their upcoming match at Indiana Tech University on Tuesday.
“I thought it was great to knock the rust off and play some very good competition early in the season to get us ready for our match against Indiana Tech next Tuesday and the upcoming ITA Regional Championships,” head coach Keith Turner said. “As a whole, I feel that the guys that were here last year are playing better at this time than last year.”