The Hillsdale College men’s tennis team beat two conference opponents this weekend, clinching the G‑MAC regular season title.
The Chargers beat Cedarville University on Thursday 4 – 0 and Walsh University 6 – 1 on Sunday to secure their first G‑MAC regular season championship since 2018.
The Chargers finished 13 – 2 in the regular season with a 5 – 0 G‑MAC record.
“I think the most surprising thing is that with COVID-19 we are able to have a very normal season with only one postponed match,” head coach Keith Turner said. “Also the fact that we were able to make it through the season playing the same six guys without any injury or illness issues.”
On Thursday the Chargers swept all three doubles matches. The No.1 doubles team had sophomore Tyler Conrad and freshman Sean Barstow winning 6 – 2, the No. 2 doubles team had freshman Brennan Cimpeanu and senior Gabe Katz winning 6 – 3, and the No. 3 doubles team had junior Brian Hackman and freshman Daniel Gilbert winning 6 – 3.
“One change since my freshman year is that we’ve kept doing better and better in the Midwest region and started beating teams we used to lose to,” Katz said. “There are four teams we’ve beaten this year that we hadn’t beaten before in my time here.”
Hackman, Barstow, and Gilbert won the necessary three singles matches to finish the quick sweep.
On Sunday the Chargers took the doubles point and only dropped one match.
Cimpeanu, Hackman, Barstow, Gilbert, and Katz all won to bring the Chargers the G‑MAC regular season championship. The Chargers did not drop a doubles match in G‑MAC play the entire season, going 15 – 0.
“The biggest change for us has been the success we have found in doubles,” Hackman said. “Winning that doubles point has been huge for us.”
The Chargers travel down to Owensboro, Kentucky for the G‑MAC tournament, which begins on April 23. They will play No. 4 Findlay, and the winner of that match will play the winner of Tiffin University and Walsh in the final on Saturday, April 24.
“We just need to continue to play the way we’ve played all season,” Turner said. “Not putting any extra pressure on ourselves to try to step up and play better even though it’s the conference tournament.”
The winner of the G‑MAC tournament will receive an automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament. The selection show is on May 4, and the tournament spans May 18 – 20.
“We have a great group of hard working guys,” Turner said. “The team chemistry has been good all year. We all know what we are capable of and the goal we are trying to achieve.”
The only senior in the lineup, Katz reflected on his time with the tennis program.
“It’s been a challenge at times but overall it’s been a great experience,” Katz said. “I’m going to miss the team and miss competing when the season’s over.”