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.