Men’s tennis prepares to enter conference tournament

Sophomore Marc Roesslein serves during last Friday’s match against
Wayne State. GVSU enters the GLIAC tournament this weekend.

Andrew Mills

Sophomore Marc Roesslein serves during last Friday’s match against Wayne State. GVSU enters the GLIAC tournament this weekend.

Greg Monahan

Up against the top teams in the conference in a win-or-go-home situation, the Grand Valley State University men’s tennis team will look to find its groove as the team enters this weekend’s GLIAC Championship tournament.

The tournament will begin on Friday in Midland, Mich., the home to GLIAC-leader Northwood University. GVSU’s first match will pit two teams with the same nickname against each other as they face the Lake Superior State University Lakers on Saturday. The two teams have already competed against each other once this season, with Lake Superior State beating GVSU by a slim 5-4 score back in late March.

GVSU head coach John Black said his team is excited to get another shot at Lake Superior State, and again, he expects his team’s performance in the doubles to decide the match.

“We’re really looking forward to the rematch against Lake State,” he said. “Again, it’s coming down to the doubles. When we played Lake State, they won two doubles and we won one, and then we split the singles. So, doubles really were the key to that match.”

The team will look to its three seniors, Ryan Diebold, Pat Snyder and Brock Plangger, to lead them through the weekend. Diebold said the seniors hope to benefit from their past appearances in the GLIAC tournament.

“We’ve been in these situations before, and we have the experience, so we know what it takes to get it done,” he said. “I don’t really look at it as pressure, and I don’t think Brock and Pat do either. But we know the importance of the match, we’ll be ready.”

The Lakers (11-10, 3-4 GLIAC) will likely need to run the table in order to earn a berth in the NCAA tournament. Snyder said though the team’s chances of making the national tournament do not look rosy, there is still a lot to play for, especially for the seniors.

“This is our last GLIAC tournament, and we want to finish strong,” he said. “We want to give the young guys something to look forward to in the future and hopefully set the tone for them next season with a couple of wins. So we’re definitely looking to step up our play a bit.”

If the Lakers do get past Lake Superior State on Friday, their next opponent will likely be host Northwood. The Timberwolves are the GLIAC’s top-ranked team and beat up on GVSU back on April 6 by an 8-1 count.

Though the Lakers chances in a possible matchup against Northwood look slim, Snyder said the team hopes to have a better game plan this time around.

“All of us need to play the tennis that we’re capable of playing,” he said. “In our match against them before, we didn’t make it close, we didn’t put any pressure on them. If we play the way we’re capable of playing and put some pressure on them, maybe the outcome will be different.”

The Lakers will begin the tournament on Saturday with their matchup against Lake Superior State. If GVSU advances, they would most likely take on Northwood later that afternoon. The finals of the tournament will be played on Sunday.

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