GVSU tennis takes clean win vs Davenport

By Nick DeMaagd | 2/8/15 10:51pm

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Alex van de Steenoven

by GVL/Emily Frye / The Lanthorn

The Grand Valley State’s men’s tennis team hosted its season opener against Davenport at MVP Sportsplex in Grand Rapids on Friday. GVSU secured a 7-2 victory, winning three of four doubles and four of five singles matches.

The indoor courts required GVSU to play differently than it had in the fall. Coach John Black said the courts were quicker, and, with no sun or wind, meant for an aggressive, big-hit style of play.

GVSU freshman Alex Van de Steenoven continued his impressive rookie campaign by winning his opening doubles performance alongside partner Zach Phillips. The duo took their match with relative ease (8-2), and finished with strong singles wins, as well.

Phillips won 6-2, 6-3 while Van de Steenoven earned a 7-6, 7-5, 6-4 victory.

Hailing from Australia, Van de Steenoven is one of three international students who came to GVSU for a chance to face off against strong collegiate competition.

“Tennis is more professional here, much more formal,” Van de Steenoven said. “I had never played indoors until I came here or had multiple coaches for a team. Ultimately, I really just want to win as many matches as I can for the team."

Just because the team had a strong initial showing doesn’t mean it came away without room for improvement. Senior Francis Bertrand -- who had a 6-1, 6-0 win against an opponent who had beaten him the previous year -- said the Lakers have things to work on.

“We need to have deeper shots and not give up easy points,” Bertrand said. “We need to be consistent, not force anything and let our opponents miss and make mistakes.”

Black echoed the same sentiments, but said the team will be better than last year.

“We played some good tennis and some up and down tennis,” Black said. “But we need everyone to get healthy. With two injuries, we need everyone to challenge and beat the top teams this season.”

Jack Heiniger claimed a pair of victories, winning individually (6-2, 6-2) and in doubles with teammate Quinn Sylow (8-6).

With the first match behind them, the Lakers will be looking to improve their game from here on out with the goal of winning conference. The Lakers square off in the Grand Rapids City Tournament this weekend in Holland, Mich.

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