GVSU tennis takes on local teams in Holland

By Nick DeMaagd | 2/15/15 10:18pm

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Senior Francis Bertrand

by GVL / Emily Frye / The Lanthorn

After opening the season with a decisive win over Davenport University, Grand Valley State’s men’s tennis team took to the courts Friday for a tournament inside the DeWitt Center at Hope College.

While the tournament didn’t count toward conference standings, GVSU’s players were able to relax while gauging some of their 2015 opponents. Against five other teams, the Lakers played three separate draws of doubles matches with solid play from every duo.

Fighting their way through the A bracket, Alex Van de Steenoven and Zach Phillips took second after falling just short to a pairing from Aquinas College, 8-6.

“Alex and I both have big serves and we both like to move a lot,” Phillips said. “When we get a hold, it’s easy for us to get in a couple of breaks to win.”

GVSU seniors Bryan Hodges and Francis Bertrand claimed the consolation win in the A bracket after taking down a Davenport duo, 8-4.

Even though injuries have been the cause for changes in doubles pairings, the team has shown a great deal of depth. With Billy Heckman and Andrew Bole out for the time being, it has simply been a matter of switching gears for GVSU.

Jack Heiniger and Quinn Sylow, who had played as a duo last year, teamed up once again after injuries forced another lineup change. The pairing found success at the net against Aquinas in the B draw, earning a 9-7 victory.

“We stepped up big in the tie-breaker and we were able to get on the offensive from our serves,” Heiniger said.

Coming up big was just what Michael Kaye and Andrew Heuerman did to finish third in the C draw versus Hope College. Working their opponents toward their weak spots, the pair came away with a clean, 8-0 win.

The tournament helped GVSU play more competitively than it does in practice, but without the added pressure of taking on conference opponents. 

For GVSU coach John Black, it was a chance to get a better read on how his team stacks up in the GLIAC.

“The conference will be tough again this year, but it’ll come down to doubles and those who win the close singles matches,” Black said. “The tournament taught us what we need to work on.”

The Lakers face the University of Northwestern (Ohio) on Sunday inside the Ramblewood Tennis & Health Club in Grandville, Mich.

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