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Men’s tennis sweeps weekend, crawls back to .500

March 22, 2013

Joe Florio / The Courier - Alex King battles an opponent in the Huff Athletic Center on March 2.

MC men’s tennis has endured a rough start to the 2013 season.

A four-match losing streak between wins gave the team a 2-4 record into matches with Ripon College and Carroll University on March 2.

Head Coach Chad Braun attributed the slow start to stiff competition.

“We’ve just played great competition; our non-conference schedule has been really tough,” said Braun.

Experience proved vital for the Scots as they evened their season-long record against Midwest Conference foes at the Huff Athletic Center.

The day began with a 6-3 victory over Carroll, where in singles the Scots won the first floor flights. David Johnson won in straight sets 6-3, 6-3. Juniors Chris Franco (6-0, 6-0), David Stewart (6-1, 6-2) and freshman Marco Franco (6-2. 6-0) followed suit and made quick work of the Pioneers. Alex King lost a heartbreaker (6-3, 4-6, 4-10) and Andrew Shiakallis held his own in a hard fought loss (3-6, 4-6).

In doubles action, the Scots took two of three from the visiting Pioneers. David Johnson and David Stewart continued their winning ways, defeating their opponents 8-5. The duo of brothers Chris and Marco Franco were able to hang on for a win in a tiebreak 9-8 (7-5).

In the day’s second match MC nearly blanked winless Ripon in an imposing 8-1 win. David Johnson ran away with a 6-1, 6-2 win in the number one flight of singles competition while David Stewart journeyed to a 6-4, 6-4 win. Marco Franco crushed his foe 6-0, 6-0 and sophomore Andrew Shiakallis rebounded nicely to win in straight sets 6-1, 6-0. Ted Staros also picked up a win via forfeit.

Johnson and Stewart continued their dominance in doubles play, cruising to an 8-4 victory. The Franco brothers downed a pair of Red Hawks 8-3, improving their doubles mark to 7-1 on the year, including a five-match win streak.

Johnson’s performances on the day earned him Midwest Conference Player of the Week honors. Stewart has been equally impressive with a four match singles winning streak.

Braun notes that work ethic has contributed to the duo’s 7-1 record and success in all facets of the game.
“Both of them are great competitors and it all starts with their practice work habits,” Braun said. “What you saw on Saturday was a result of what you see from them throughout the week.”

Braun feels being upset in round one of last year’s MWC doubles event added fuel to their fire.

“They have been together for three years. It’s the longest I’ve had a doubles group playing together,” Braun said. “Are they hungry for a conference title? For sure, that’s on their mind.”

The Scots travel to Wisconsin to take on St. Norbert and Lawrence Saturday, April 6.

Ace Hendricks
Contributing Writer

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