On the road this weekend, the Hillsdale College Chargers split their matches, beating Ferris State and losing to Wayne State. The weekend puts the Chargers at 6 – 1 as they head to Florida for a series of competitive outdoor matches over spring break.
Against Ferris State, the Chargers withstood pressure from a raucous crowd for much of the match.
“They’re extremely loud and obnoxious,” head coach Kieth Turner said. “It was an intense match, but once we got the doubles point it started to quiet down a little bit.”
The whole Chargers team traveled to Ferris State in an attempt to offset the noise of the Ferris State fans.
The Chargers took wins on the first and third doubles courts to secure the doubles point and kept up their momentum in singles, winning five of six matches.
“He was honestly a big key to the weekend, the way he got through not feeling his best and still played well,” Turner said of senior Charlie Adams. “He showed up and competed really hard. I was really proud of him.”
Adams, with junior Ivan Lissanevitch, secured a 6 – 4 win on the first doubles court against Ferris State and a 6 – 3 win against Wayne State the next day.
Hackman, after losing the first set on Ferris State’s fast indoor courts, picked up his play to beat his opponent in three sets.
“I wasn’t really playing my best,” Hackman said of the first set. “Once I adjusted, I knew I could win the match. I knew I was the better player, I just had to figure it out.”
The match turned out to be a pivotal win for the Chargers, sealing the match against a tough rival.
“Brian had a couple of big wins for us over the weekend, for sure,” Turner said. “The one against Ferris was huge because it was in the third set and the match hadn’t been decided.”
The Chargers dropped their first match of the season 5 – 2 the next day, but the match wasn’t quite a blowout the score line suggests.
“It couldn’t have been any closer,” Turner said. “We pushed them. I mean, we had our chances. We could have beat that team.”
The doubles point was decided by two tiebreaks on courts two and three. Szabo and Hackman managed to get up a break midway through the set and take a 4 – 3 lead. They were broken back on Szabo’s serve and lost the tiebreaker 7 – 3.
“We just kind of had a sloppy game. I missed a volley and he double faulted,” Hackman said. “All of a sudden it was like, we just threw away our break, which we worked really hard to earn.”
Clouette and Conrad also kept their match close before losing ground in the tiebreaker and falling 7 – 2.
In singles, the Chargers tried to keep up their intensity. Senior Charlie Adams outlasted his opponent in a first-set tiebreak before he retired with an illness and ceded the match to Adams. Hackman and Conrad were both up a set on their opponents when Wayne State clinched the match.
The match showed just how important the doubles point is in collegiate tennis, according to Hackman.
“If we had gotten the doubles point, Charlie won then I won, it would have come down to Tyler to clinch,” Hackman said. “That’s how close we were, based on that doubles point. It was a bummer.”
Conrad, who went on to lose his match in the third set tiebreaker, would have had the chance to play a full third set and potentially win the match for the Chargers. It didn’t happen that way, and Adams and Hackman’s singles wins were the only points on the board for the Chargers on Sunday.
“Really it’s a confidence booster for us that we can play right with those top teams in the nation,” Turner said.
Now, the Chargers will travel to Florida and play teams ranked above Wayne State in national rankings, including no. 5 St. Leo University and no. 18 Florida Southern College.