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Sarah Hackman (left) and Hannah Cim­peanu (right) play at home earlier this season. (Ryan Goff | Col­legian)

In dra­matic fashion, the Hillsdale College Chargers remain unde­feated in the G-MAC con­ference in a match that came down to the last point.

Bat­tling through a windy weekend, the Chargers swept another pair of con­ference matches in wins against Tiffin Uni­versity and the Uni­versity of Findlay. The wins advance the Chargers to 6 – 0 in G-MAC and 13 – 2 overall.

The toughest test the Chargers faced over the weekend was Sat­urday against Tiffin, when the wind blew at its strongest. After sweeping the doubles matches and securing the first point of the match, the Chargers fell in three of the first four singles matches. Sophomore Hannah Cim­peanu was the only player to win her match in the first four matches, which included a long three-set loss on the no. 4 court from junior Katie Bell and a close two-set loss on the no. 2 court from freshman Sarah Hackman.

The tricky wind meant Hackman’s match was full of long games and long rallies, as neither player was able to stay true to her game plan but rather had to contend with wind.

“It wasn’t a slug-fest like Hackman usually has,” head coach Nikki Wal­bright said.

Then, the Chargers were down 2 – 3, and after junior Kam Matthews won her match in three sets at no. 5, the score was tied 3 – 3 and the last match on the court was senior Corinne Prost at no. 6.

For one and a half sets, Prost’s match was the only one still going. With the match win up to her and everyone watching, she stayed men­tally tough and out­played her opponent.

“She was very focused, def­i­nitely the clutch player for the day, and did an awesome job,” Wal­bright said.

As the wind started to pick up more and it got cold, Prost felt con­fident in herself. And when the pressure mounted, it showed.

“It was a really good win, espe­cially because I knew going into the match that I was fully capable of pulling it off men­tally,” Prost said. “As long as I kept my pos­itive energy up, I knew there was no way that she could overcome and beat me.”

The games weren’t as close on Sunday when the Chargers played indoors against Findlay, but they still faced dif­ficult chal­lenges. At no. 1 singles, Cim­peanu was trailing in her third set at the time the match was clinched, and on the no. 2 court Hackman dropped her match in two sets.

“Everyone was playing someone new that day, so we were always trying to adapt and get better,” Wal­bright said. “It was a tough day, for sure, but a lot of fun to get the wins.”

Despite the chal­lenges, Bell and senior Halle Hyman were able to bounce back from their Sat­urday losses with con­vincing wins to help the Chargers reach their 4 – 1 match win.

With two pressure matches behind them, the Chargers have one more match this weekend at home against Cedarville Uni­versity before the G-MAC Cham­pi­onship next weekend.

“I think the team feels excited and pos­itive for the last match,” Bell said. “It’s also Senior Day which will be pretty emo­tional. Appre­ci­ating [the four seniors] will be really special and make the match a great one.”

 

  • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

    If we beat Cedarville we’ll be unde­feated in the GMAC as I pre­dicted. Our ladies tennis program is really playing at a high level, I’m really curious to see who Coach Wal­bright recruits to replace the 4 grad­u­ating seniors. We’ll be a young team next season and our Freshman and Sopho­mores will be counted on to make some sig­nif­icant con­tri­bu­tions.