|ISU men’s tennis splits a pair against in-state rivals|
|Written by Kevin Powell, Daily Vidette Reporter|
|Monday, 23 April 2012 10:57|
Illinois State men’s tennis took on two conference opponents this weekend, each hailing from Illinois, and tallying one victory between the two.
The weekend activities are the final ones of the regular season, as ISU looks ahead to the Missouri Valley Conference Championships April 27.
“Our main focus right now is to try to get as healthy as we can, which will help,” ISU head coach Cris James said.
Although James is not entirely happy with his team’s conference standings, he knows that all that matters is how they are playing in the conference tournament this upcoming weekend in Omaha, Neb.
“We are a bit disappointed with our standing in the conference,” James said. “At this point, though, it doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters [is that] we still can get redemption in the conference tournament.”
Bradley 5, ISU 2
The Redbirds dropped their match to rival Bradley, 5-2, as competition was moved inside at the Evergreen Racquet Club due to inclement weather.
The weekend started for ISU with doubles play on Friday, when ISU’s Jordan Badenko and Willi Peter lost to Ashton Kalhorn and Arthur Romanet in the No. 3 spot, 8-3.
Skip Span and Muddappa Appanervanda dropped their match to Ahmed Albitar and Hamish Weerasinghe, 8-6.
Alexander Pelaez and Tuomas Manner grabbed the only ISU doubles victory when they beat Justin Abrams and Juan Diego Cuadrado, 8-6.
“I think Alex and Tuomas were playing, for whatever reason, a little defensive in the beginning of their match,” James said. “Then, when they got aggressive, they took over.”
Span won his final home match of his career over Ashton Kalhorn, 6-2, 6-2, in the No. 3 position.
“Skip is a great kid,” James said. “He’s grown up a lot and has always been a pretty good big-match player for us, so I knew he would be good today. He has been great for this team.”
Manner was the only other Redbird to win his singles match when he beat Hamish Weerasinghe, 6-4, 6-0.
Jacob Wilson, Appanervanda, Peter, and Pelaez all dropped their matches.
“Obviously, we are pretty disappointed,” James said after the match. “A lot of credit to Bradley, though, they were definitely the hungrier team. They came to play and I think it was a big win for them. They just wanted it more than we did.”
ISU 4, SIU 3
ISU traveled to Southern Illinois territory in Carbondale, Ill., to beat the Salukis, 4-3.
ISU bounced back Saturday with the win over the Salukis at the University Courts. The win improved ISU’s conference record to 2-3.
ISU won 2-of-3 doubles matches when Pelaez and Manner beat Brandon Florez and Stanislas Rodier in the No. 1 spot, 8-6, and Badenko and Span defeated Badr Cherradi and Jordan Snyder, 9-7, in the No. 3 position.
Appandervanda and Peter fell in the No. 2 spot to Szymon Opieczonek and Orhan Spahic, 8-6.
With the Redbirds hampered with injuries, underclassmen were expected to step up and contribute. ISU won in the No. 4-6 spots in singles.
“It was very good to see success in the bottom half of our lineup today,” James said.
Next up for ISU is the State Farm Valley tournament, where James hopes his team can heal up in time.
“We have work to do to get healthy for next week,” James said. “I am glad we were able to sneak into a tie for third, overall, though.”