In their biggest weekend of the season, the Hillsdale College men’s tennis team dominated the competition, beating University of Findlay 4 – 0 on Saturday and Tiffin University 4 – 1 on Sunday.
After these crucial wins, the Chargers sit atop the G‑MAC standings, with Walsh University and Tiffin right behind them.
The Chargers began against Findlay by sweeping all three doubles matches, and only took three singles matches to finish the dominant day.
“In general our doubles is just continuing to improve as the season goes on,” head coach Keith Turner said. “It was great that we played our best doubles during the biggest weekend of the year.”
Sophomore Tyler Conrad won 6 – 2, 6 – 4 at No. 1 singles, freshman Sean Barstow won 6 – 0, 6 – 0 at No. 4 singles, and senior Gabe Katz won 6 – 1, 6 – 0 to win the match for the Chargers.
On Sunday the Chargers once again took the doubles point against Tiffin, winning all three matches. Conrad and Barstow won 6 – 4, freshman Brennan Cimpeanu and Katz won 6 – 2 at No. 2 doubles, and junior Brian Hackman and freshman Daniel Gilbert won 6 – 4 at No. 3 doubles.
All three singles matches relied on a comeback from a first set loss.
Conrad rallied from a 4 – 6 first set to win the next two 6 – 2, 6 – 2, and Cimpeanu won 5 – 7, 6 – 3, 6 – 1. Hackman finished the day 3 – 6, 6 – 4, 6 – 4.
“I would say my biggest improvement since the beginning of the year is my confidence,” Conrad said. “My shots themselves aren’t a ton better than they were in the fall, but I’m a lot more confident in my game.”
Conrad said he did not expect to be No. 1 singles this semester.
“Because I played No. 5 last year where I was expected to win every match, it was definitely an adjustment to be playing the top players from every school and be the underdog in several of them,” Conrad said. “I was definitely not expecting to have as good of a record as I do when I started out, especially since I started the season out 3 – 3 and now I’m 9 – 4.”
The Chargers play Cedarville April 15 at noon, and Walsh University April 18.
“It’s crazy to think we only have two more matches left,” Cimpeanu said. “These last two week shave put a lot of stress on my arm and I’m currently getting treated for it. The plan is to be healthy to compete these last two weeks to the best of our abilities.”
Walsh and Hillsdale are the two top seeds in the G‑MAC, and the match on the 18th looms to determine the No. 1 seed for the G‑MAC tournament.
“We just need to stay focused,” Turner said. “There can’t be a let down from this past weekend. Cedarville is a much improved team and Walsh is a team that is capable of beating us.”