ISU had a tough day and only recorded one point against strong competitor in No. 38 Drake.
When the nationally ranked Drake Bulldogs came to town, Illinois State was no match for them as they secured the 6-1 win. The score was not close, but there were still positive thoughts surrounding the team Saturday.
“I’m proud of the way we competed today with a highly ranked team. We were a few points away from an upset. I am proud of the way the guys are starting to play better as a team. I think we have a lot of momentum going into next week,” head coach Mark Klysner said.
The Redbirds only point came from the No. 1 singles match. That match between Erik Brunskog, who beat Alen Salibasic of Drake 3-6, 6-1, 7-6. In the next match up, Jacob Wilson lost to Ben Lott, 6-3, 2-6, 6-3. In No. 3 singles play, Jakub Eisner fell to Robing Goodman, 6-1, 6-1.
Moving into the second half of singles matches, Urh Kranjc-Domiter lost to Matt Frost of Drake, 2-6, 6-0, 6-3, while in No. 5 singles, Muddappa Appanervanda was defeated by Ravi Patel, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2. In No. 6 singles, Rolando Torrellas fell to Ben Mullis, 6-4, 7-6.
In No. 1 doubles Eisner and Torrellas defeated Goodman and Lott in a nail-biter, 8-7, while in No. 3 doubles Dylan Steffens and Rodrigo Oliveira fell to Patel and Frost, 8-2. The doubles point came down to a battle between No. 2 doubles duo Appanervanda and Kranjc-Domiter who fell to Salibasic and Mullis, 8-7.
The Redbirds also played Friday against a conference opponent they know very well — Bradley. ISU defended their home court against their rivals in a 6-1 victory at Gregory Street Tennis courts. In the first singles match, Brunskog took down Arthur Romanet of Bradley 3-6, 6-4, 10-6. In No. 2 singles Wilson defeated Kalhorn 6-3, 6-1 and in No. 3 singles Eisner lost to Nico Rakitin, 6-4, 6-3. In No. 4 singles Kranjc-Domiter beat Hamish Weerasinghe, 6-4, 6-3. In No. 5 singles Appanervanda easily beat Justin Abrams, 6-2, 6-3, while in No. 6 singles Torrellas dominated Dan Rodefeld, 6-0, 6-1.
In doubles play, Eisner and Torrellas led the Redbirds early on when they beat Ashton Kalhorn and Weerasinghe, 8-2 and earned the doubles point. In No. 2 doubles, Appanervanda and his partner Kranjc-Domiter worked together to beat Romanet and Abrams, 8-3, while partners Steffens and Oliveira lost to Rakitin and Rodefeld, 7-6.
“Overall I’m happy with how we came out and played today. It’s always nice to get the first conference win.” Klysner said.
ISU will end its MVC regular-season schedule starting at 1 p.m. Saturday as the Redbirds prepare for Southern Illinois.