Tennis off to 5-0 start in GLIAC play

Tate Baker

Riding a five game losing streak is usually not how you want to be playing as you resume conference play. However, just at the right time, it all came together for the Grand Valley State University men’s tennis team as they jumped back into their GLIAC schedule.

After defeating Lake Superior State University 7-2 and Michigan Tech University 5-4, the GVSU tennis team is now off to a 5-0 start in GLIAC play.

“It’s a great start we have right now,” said head coach John Black. “I think they are all playing with confidence right now. That’s great at this time of the year.”

Sophomore Francis Bertrand and junior Andrew Darrell led the way for the Lakers as they both picked up wins in the No. 1 and No. 2 singles spots in both GLIAC matches Saturday. In the opening match against Michigan Tech, Bertrand went on to win the No. 1 singles 6-2, 6-1, while Darrell followed with a 6-2, 6-0 victory in the No. 2 singles event.

“Everybody was on point this weekend and it showed,” Bertrand said. “I just went out and played strong and didn’t hold anything back. I think the rest of the team is playing like that as well.”

The duo of Bertrand and junior Bryan Hodges paired up again for the Laker’s No. 1 doubles team against Michigan Tech. Bertrand and Hodges won in a contested matchup, 9-8.

“It was a big win for these guys,” Black said. “Bertrand and Hodges have been playing well together. It was nice to see them continue their winning streak.”

Sunday’s match-up against Lake Superior State provided the same results as GVSU was led by Bertrand, Hodges, and Darrell, who dominated all ends of the court.

“We’ve really been focusing on getting better each and every match,” Darrell said. “Hopefully we can continue this spurt that we are on.”

A notable moment during Sunday’s match up occurred in the No. 1 doubles. Within striking distance down 4-2, LSSU’s No. 1 doubles took on Bertrand and Darrell, who paired up for the first time in several matches. The duo won effortlessly and put GVSU out in front for good.

“I thought we picked things up and played well together,” Bertrand said. “We played with each other all last semester, so it wasn’t anything new to us. It’s always nice to pick up a win.”

The Lakers will have a chance to prove themselves within the GLIAC as they come up on a stretch of games where they will face three undefeated teams, Wayne State University, Ferris State University, and Northwood University.

“These games we have coming up in the GLIAC are huge,” Black said. “Wayne State, Ferris State, and Northwood are all undefeated, so it will be a test for us to prove how good we really are.”

The overall morale for the Laker men’s tennis team appears to be growing as their confidence will continue to grow with every GLIAC win they pick up.

“I think we are beginning to settle in now,” Bertrand said. “Hopefully we can continue to get better as we go further into our season.”

After a Sunday evening showcase with Western Michigan University, the Lakers will face Walsh University this upcoming Thursday in Canton, OH.
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