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Freshman Brian Hackman plays at home earlier last season. (S. Nathaniel Grime | Collegian)

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.”