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The Hillsdale College men’s tennis team fell 4 – 0 to Walsh Uni­versity in its final match of the regular season. The Chargers now enter the G‑MAC Tour­nament as the No.4 seed, looking to repeat as con­ference champions.

Sopho­mores Brennan Cim­peanu and Daniel Gilbert won 6 – 1 at No. 2 doubles, but the Chargers could not secure the doubles point. Junior Tyler Conrad and sophomore Sean Barstow fell at No.1 doubles 6 – 2, while senior Matt Granzotto and junior Bogdan Jani­ci­jevic lost 6 – 3 at No. 3 doubles. 

“Brennan and Daniel played much better on Sat­urday,” Head Coach Keith Turner said. “We need that same level of play against Findlay because we know we can get the doubles point against them.”

Cim­peanu fell 6 – 3, 6 – 1 at No. 1 singles, while Conrad came just short in three sets, 7 – 5, 5 – 7, 6 – 2 at No. 2 singles. Gilbert also fought in three sets at No. 4 singles, falling 2 – 6, 6 – 4. 2 – 6. 

The Chargers ended the regular season 7 – 10 overall with a 3 – 3 G‑MAC record, entering the con­ference tour­nament as the No. 4 seed.

“We just need to make sure we stay grounded,” Conrad said. “We have a good team, and everyone really cares about doing well. If everyone shows up and takes the rest of our prac­tices seri­ously then we’ll give our­selves the best chance pos­sible for this weekend.”

The Chargers now are set up to take on the No. 1 seed Uni­versity of Findlay, who ended with a 5 – 1 con­ference record, and 11 – 11 overall. Findlay, Tiffin Uni­versity, and Walsh Uni­versity ended with a three way tie for first place in G‑MAC, and Findlay won the coin flip to be the No. 1 seed. Tiffin was 16 – 7 overall while Walsh was 16 – 8 with Findlay at 11 – 11. All three were tied with a 5 – 1 con­ference record. 

“This season has def­i­nitely been tougher than we ini­tially hoped,” Cim­peanu said. “But going in as the lowest seed means we have no pressure. We’ve lost to each team so they’re just expecting us to lose to them again. Coach Turner really pushed us into a pos­itive mindset which I believe will get us the wins we need this weekend. We don’t really expect any­thing except that we will give it our all until the very last point.”

Findlay barely beat the Chargers two weeks ago 4 – 3 in a match that took over four hours to com­plete. Hillsdale is the defending G‑MAC Tour­nament champion and is looking to repeat in the G‑MAC Tour­nament which starts Friday, April 22 at 9:30 am. Hillsdale also boasts the only G‑MAC men’s player in the ITA top 75 singles rankings in No. 13 Cim­peanu, who has been in the top 15 since December 10. 

“Every team has mul­tiple new players playing high in their lineup so it’s much dif­ferent than last year,” Turner said. “Of the 3 teams, Walsh is the one that I feel is stronger than last year’s team. We didn’t play near our potential on Sat­urday vs Walsh. However, we know that if we play well up and down the lineup, we can win the tour­nament again.”

Conrad said the key to defending their title is everyone playing well. 

“We’re happy to play Findlay first because that was our closest in-season match, and the one we have the best chance of flipping the results,” Conrad said.