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.