Redbirds lose regular season finale

John Butkus
Sports Reporter

Archive Photo: Muddappa Appanervanda was one of five players who brought home victories against Southern Illinois.

Archive Photo: Muddappa Appanervanda was one of five players who brought home victories against Southern Illinois.

The Illinois State men’s tennis team lost to Southern Illinois, 4-3 on Saturday in Carbondale to end the regular season in MVC play.

There were five players who brought home victories for the men’s team and they were Rodrigo Oliveira, Erik Brunskog, Rolando Torrellas, Urh Kranjc Domiter and Muddappa Appanervanda. Three of those victories came in singles play and one came in doubles competition.

In singles play, Jorge Cavero of SIU took down Erik Brunskog, 6-3 and 6-1 in the No.1 position. Next, Jonny Rigby defeated Jacob Wilson, 6-3 and 6-1 in the No. 2 spot. The Redbirds also failed to win the third singles match when Michal Kianicka of SIU beat Jakub Eisner of ISU, 6-2 and 6-3.

Things started to look up from there when the Redbirds found a way to win the final three singles matches of the day. In the No. 4 position, Domiter defeated Szymon Opieczonek of SIU, 6-2 and 7-6. Next up in the No. 5 singles position, Appanervanda took down Rafael Cuadrillero of Southern Illinois, 7-2 and 7-6. To end singles matches for the day, Rolando Torrellas finished strong when he defeated Jeremy Dixon, 6-1 and 7-5.

“Today was not our best tennis and it showed in the result. We are having trouble staying healthy and it’s frustrating,” head coach Mark Klysner said.  “But we have a week to heal and get our game back before we host the conference tournament.”

Moving to doubles competition, there were only three matchups and it started with Southern Illinois’ duo of Rigby and Kianicka winning the No. 1 position when they beat the team of Eisner and Torrellas, 8-0. In the No. 2 matchup, SIU partners Cavero and Opieczonek took down duo Appanervanda and Kranjc Domiter, 8-5. In the last doubles competition of the day, Illinois State finally earned a win when the team of Rodrigo Oliviera and Erik Brunskog defeated Southern Illinois partners Cuadrillero and Dixon, 8-3.

ISU lost the early doubles point and could not regain rhythm on Saturday. The Illinois State men end the regular season with an overall record of 7-12 and a 1-3 record in Missouri Conference competition.

The men have another chance with the conference tournament starting this week. ISU is playing host to the MVC Championships April 25 through Sunday, April 27. The Redbirds will return home on Friday when they take on Bradley, who they beat a few weeks back, 6-1 in Normal. The winner of that match will face No. 38 Drake in the semi-finals on Saturday, who ISU lost to last week by the score of 6-1. In the other semi-finals matchup, Wichita State and Southern Illinois will battle on April 26. The times for matches to begin have yet to be determined.

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