Grinnell College’s men’s tennis team opened Midwest Conference South Division play on a convincing note Saturday, blanking Illinois College 9-0 and then defeating Lake Forest College 7-2.
“These wins were a great way for us to start in defending our Midwest Conference South Division title,” said Grinnell coach Andy Hamilton. “I’m especially pleased with the way we bounced back after being upset by a talented Wheaton team on Friday.”
Singles winners against Illinois College were Elliott Czarnecki ’15, Eric Ritter ’12, Daniel Nellis ’13, Conor Cunningham ’15, Michael Cole ’12 and Colin Johnson ’13.
Doubles teams winning were Czarnecki-Cole, Ishan Bhadkamkar ’13-Benjamin Charney ’15 and Aaron Lapkin ’15-Johnson.
Grinnell also swept doubles in the Lake Forest contest, with victories coming from Czarnecki-Cole, Bhadkamkar-Charney and Wilhelm-Cunningham.
Grinnell also won Nos. 3 through 6 singles with Nellis, Bhadkamkar, Wilhelm and Cunningham.
“The key to victory against Lake Forest was getting out of the gate quickly with three doubles wins,” said Hamilton. “Sweeping those matches gave us some breathing room as we took the singles court. It pumped us up and made our guys excited to complete the victory.
“Our strength in the middle through bottom of our lineup was exhibited in full force, as we defeated talented players from Lake Forest with decisive scores,” he continued. “I’m pleased with the way Daniel led that group at the No. 3 spot . He and Ishan looked very strong. And then our rookies at 5 and 6 showed great poise and understanding of how we wanted to execute our game plan today. They were successful in implementing that plan and came away with decisive victories.”
Grinnell is now 16-5 on the season and 2-0 in the MWC South. The Pioneers host Coe next Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m.
“We always expect a great match from Coe, and they’re playing well,” said Hamilton. “It will be a great challenge.”