ISU struggled out of the gates at the three-day tournament in Tennessee, but finished strong on the last day of matches.
On the first day of competition, the weather in Tennessee refused to cooperate and the matches had to be moved to Nashville to play indoors. The inclement weather also caused four unfinished matches all together Friday. The Redbirds fell to host-team Middle Tennessee in all four doubles matches and played three singles matches that went unfinished before competition ended. The three singles matches that went unfinished included No. 1, No. 5 and No. 6.
The struggle continued for ISU the second day of competition when the team fell to Troy, 4-1. Victories by Urh Kranjc Domiter as well as the No. 1 doubles partnership Jakub Eisner and Rolando Torrellas highlighted a tough second day at the shootout. Domiter defeated Pablo Moreno, 6-5, 6-5, while No. 1 doubles partners Eisner and Torrellas beat Gabriel Sciacca Dias and Moreno, 6-5.
On the third and final day of matches, the Redbirds gained momentum and came out with a victory over Southern Illinois. Muddappa Appanervanda, Domiter, Dylan Steffens, Rodrigo Oliveira, Torrellas and Eisner all took home victories for the Redbirds, who needed a win to snap a six-match losing streak.
Starting with singles play, in No. 3 singles action Eisner defeated Szymon Opieczonek, 6-2, 7-6. The No. 5 singles player Torrellas defeated Cuadrillero easily, 6-2, 6-2 and in the No. 6 match Oliveira beat Fillip Aleksic, 6-3, 6-3. Kranjc Domiter lost in the No. 2 spot to Cavero, 6-4, 6-1.
Two singles matches went unfinished. In the No. 1 spot, Wilson and Rigby ended at 1-6, 7-5 and 0-2. The No. 4 match ended with scores of 2-6, 6-1 and 2-4 between Appanervanda and Michal Kianicka.
In doubles action, Eisner and his partner Torrellas fell to SIU’s Rigby and Kianicka 8-2 but ISU retaliated with consecutive victories in the No. 2 and No. 3 matchups. In No. 2 spot Appanervanda and Domiter beat Jorqe Cavero and Opieczonek, 8-4. In the No. 3 doubles slate Steffens and Oliveira edged Rafael Cuadrillero and Jeremy Dixon, 8-6.
“I’m happy how we finished the weekend. It’s not always easy to come out after a couple of tough losses and perform well on the last day of a road trip but I thought we competed well. Always nice to get a win before starting conference play,” head coach Mark Klysner said.
ISU looks to continue its momentum from Sunday when they start MVC conference play next Saturday in Wichita, Kan. against the No. 69 Shockers. Competition is scheduled to start at 11 a.m.