Warriors take revenge on GV in GLIAC tournament
After beating Wayne State 5-4 on April 3, Lakers cannot duplicate success in conference tournament semifinals
After a regular season with only two losses and starting the GLIAC tournament with a 5-0 win over Findlay, the Grand Valley State University men’s tennis team met its match against Wayne State University in the semifinals of the GLIAC tournament.
Freshman Bryan Hodges was the only player on the team to record a win during the 5-1 loss against Wayne State. Hodges got the opportunity to avenge a loss against Wayne State’s Melvin Joseph, who had beaten him in straight sets earlier this season. He won 6-1 and 6-2 on Saturday.
Junior Josh Kazdan and his doubles partner Benny Delgado-Rochas played in a close match but lost 8-6. Kazdan said the team needed a lot of things to go right to get a win against a team like Wayne State, but it just did not happen this time. The Lakers edged out Wayne State 5-4 two weeks ago at the end of the regular season.
“We were definitely disappointed,” Kazdan said. “We knew coming into this that this is a very tough team, but we thought I we played to our potential that we were an even better team.”
Hodges said GVSU head coach John Black tried his best to get the team through its struggles, but there was not much he could do about the team’s performance against Wayne State.
“He’s always supportive, and he just encouraged us,” Hodges said. “We could have played a lot better than we did [Saturday], and he knew that, but he’s still always supportive of us.”
Hodges said he’ll most remember this year’s spring break trip in which the Lakers travelled to Orlando and faced some of the toughest teams in the country as a precursor to the regular season. He noted the closeness of the team after the trip and the potential the team has next year with only one player graduating.
“I think it’s good that we’re only losing one person this year, and I think our team can just grow even more than we have,” Hodges said. “We really improved our team communication and our skills over this past year, and I think we can do a lot better than we have next year.”
Even though the team was unhappy with the result of Saturday’s match, the record books will still show a strong overall season for the Lakers. The team lost to only two GLIAC opponents in the regular season, dropping close matches against Ferris State University and Northwood University, two of the best teams in the conference.
“The conference tournament is only to find out who gets an automatic bid to nationals,” Kazdan said. “For the ranking of conferences they only go by your record, so we’re still tied for second.”
GVSU played in a third-place game on Sunday afternoon against Ferris State University, but the Lakers were unable to pull things together in a 5-1 loss.