Redbirds Edge Wichita State in Thriller, 4-3
April 16, 2011
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - Skip Span defeated Valentin Mihai in a three-setter on the No. 5 singles court, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, to give the Illinois State men's tennis team a win over reigning Missouri Valley Conference champion Wichita State, 4-3, Saturday afternoon at the Evergreen Racquet Club in Bloomington, Ill.
Head coach Cris James feels this was a big win for his squad.
"We've developed a bit of a rivalry with Wichita State," James said. "It really feels good to pull one out against them."
Alexander Pelaez and Timon Reichlet also picked up singles victories for the Redbirds. Pelaez defeated Vlad Marinescu on the No. 1 court, 6-3, 6-2, and Reichelt defeated Guillermo Nicol on the No. 2 court, 7-5, 6-1.
ISU started fast by taking two of three doubles matches to secure the lone doubles point. Pelaez and Filip Miljevic were victorious on the No. 1 court over Nicol and Marinescu, while Span and Juan Varon took down Mihai and Adrian Chermaci on the No. 3 court, 8-6. Reichelt and Tuomas Manner were the only Redbirds to fall in doubles, losing to Matheus Pereira and David Cavalcanti in a shortened-match, 7-6 (7-4).
James was impressed with the doubles play.
"I was very happy with the results," James said. "Obviously to get the doubles point when we have some of our guys out with injury is big. We didn't have a whole lot of time to practice with the tandems we used in the match, so we really didn't know how it was going to turn out. It was also a test of character for our team. When you lose some guys who are always in the lineup, you never really know if the confidence is going to be there. Getting that doubles point certainly gave us momentum heading into singles play."
The Shockers' three points came from the No. 3, No. 4, and No. 6 singles courts. Pereira dropped Miljevic on the No. 3 court, 7-6, 6-4, Manner fell to Cavalcanti on the No. 4 court, 6-3, 6-4, and Varon lost to Chermaci on the No. 6 court, 6-0, 6-2.
James believes a win like this might propel the Redbirds on a solid run to end the season.
"We know we're a good team," James said. "Last weekend, we didn't play very well, and ran into Drake who played great. We were disappointed, but we had a good week of practice this week. I told the team after the last match that we're a good team, but to be successful we need to prepare the right way and play at our best. I don't know if we're there yet, but we still have two more weeks to get ready for the Valley tournament, and I hope this gives us some confidence to know that we can make a run here, even with a couple of our guys dealing with injuries."
GoRedbirds.com: Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, Weisbecker Scholarship Fund gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.