Brian Hackman com­petes at the Hillsdale Invi­ta­tional last weekend before the ITA Tour­nament. (Courtesy | Jaycie Burger, Hillsdale College Ath­letics)

The Hillsdale College Chargers wrapped up fall com­pe­tition at the ITA Regional Small College Cham­pi­onship in Indi­anapolis last weekend. Com­peting against the region’s best teams, the Chargers found a lot to be happy with.

Hillsdale began the singles tour­nament with no early exits, winning every match on Sat­urday 5 – 0. From there, Hillsdale’s no. 1 Brennan Cim­peanu made it to the quar­ter­finals only to fall to the top seed from Uni­versity of Indi­anapolis in the tour­nament, 6 – 1, 6 – 4. 

“I could’ve done better for sure,” Cim­peanu said. “I felt that first set I was nervous by how many years he played tennis.”

Down 1 – 4 in the second set, Cimpeanu’s strategic shift leveled the set and brought the next game to deuce. Cim­peanu lost the deuce point which set him back 4 – 5. His opponent held serve to win the match with three net serves in the clinching game, a very rare break made pos­sible by the Division II rules that count let serves as live points. 

“It was just a lucky game,” Cim­peanu said. “But all of these matches are a good learning expe­rience.”

Other notable singles per­for­mances include sophomore Tyler Conrad’s chal­lenge in the round of 16 against the no. 3 seed Renato Lima from Uni­versity of Indi­anapolis. Conrad battled hard to force a third set only to fall in a third set tiebreak, 6 – 4, 3 – 6, (4).

“He took one of their top guys to three sets, so I thought he played awesome,” head coach Keith Turner said. 

In the round of 16, freshman Daniel Gilbert played a tight match against Uni­versity of Illinois Springfield’s no. 1, even­tually losing 6 – 4, 6 – 3 to sophomore Menno Servaes.

“For Daniel to push a good team’s no. 1 shows how deep we’re going to be this season,” Turner said. 

In doubles, Cim­peanu and junior Brian Hackman advanced to the quar­ter­final against the Uni­versity of Indi­anapolis’ no. 1 team. They fought hard against the top seed, not losing a service game the entire way toward the finish.

“It was a matter of who would break first,” Cim­peanu said. “We were just holding serves the entire time. We had one chance that we should have won and we would have won the match if we could have held after making that break.”

With the ITA tour­nament behind them, the Chargers will now look to Feb­ruary for the next com­pe­tition. During the long break, Turner said he plans to play more chal­lenge matches than normal and focus on doubles to augment the shortened fall schedule. With extra time to train, he said he likes where the team could be.