The Hillsdale College men’s tennis team won both matches last weekend, beating Lawrence Tech 4 – 0 on Saturday and Davenport University 4 – 2 on Sunday in the Biermann Center.
Freshman Brennan Cimpeanu won in straight sets in the No. 2 singles spot, 6 – 1, 6 – 3, and freshman Sean Barstow won the match for Hillsdale by winning 6 – 2, 6 – 7(5), and 6 – 1.
Head coach Keith Turner said he wasn’t surprised by how well the freshmen played.
“I knew they were good players coming in,” Turner said. “They’ve impressed me from day one of practice in the fall. They all have extensive junior tournament experience so they are used to playing players of the level they saw this weekend.”
Sophomore Tyler Conrad beat Alexander Tammaro in his first match in the No. 1 singles spot 3 – 6, 6 – 0, and 6 – 2. The Chargers won all three doubles matches on Saturday, 6 – 4, 6 – 1, and 6 – 2 respectively.
On Sunday, the Chargers beat Davenport 4 – 2, with both the No. 1 and No. 2 doubles fighting back from 5 – 4 to win 7 – 5. Turner said winning the doubles matches are very important.
“The winner of the doubles point usually wins the vast majority of the dual matches,” Turner said. “The team knew Davenport was a tough in-region school that we needed to beat.”
Cimpeanu won 3 – 6, 6 – 2, and 6 – 3, while Barstow won in straight sets to bring the Chargers closer to winning. Junior Brian Hackman finished the match by winning 6 – 3, 6 – 2, capping off an undefeated weekend for the Chargers.
“I was really happy with what I saw this weekend,” Turner said. “The biggest thing we need to work on is being able to execute a plan B if the original game plan isn’t working.”
Cimpeanu also mentioned the importance of adapting in the middle of a match, citing an example from Sunday against Davenport.
“Instead of my usual aggressive tactics, both Coach Turner and Ivanhoe Lissanevitch told me to switch up my strategy and last longer in the points,” Cimpeanu said. “It ended up pulling out the victory for the team.”
Turner said the outcome of the MRI’s on senior Lissanevitch and sophomore Bodgan Janicijevic both showed torn labrums. Janicijevic suffered a torn labrum in his shoulder, requiring surgery that will cause him to miss the season. Lissanevitch tore the labrum in his hip, also requiring surgery, but it is possible for him to return for this season.
“He may play a few doubles matches for us, but that’s it,” Turner said.
One thing Turner said he wants to improve on during the year is recognizing opponents’ weaknesses and finding ways to exploit them, and Cimpeanu agreed with him.
“I want to focus on increasing my accuracy and consistency with my serves, as well analyzing the opponent fast enough to switch strategies that play to his weaknesses,” Cimpeanu said.
The Chargers will travel to face Purdue Northwest on Saturday Feb. 20 at 1 p.m., and Wayne State on Sunday Feb. 21 at 1 p.m.