The SIU men’s tennis team earned its first win of spring season as it split a doubleheader against Butler University and Purdue University.
The meet was held Saturday at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., and the Salukis started with a match against Purdue.
The Salukis opened the meet against the 67th-ranked Boilermakers. In doubles play, the Salukis were almost able to pull off an upset of the Boilermakers and earn the doubles points by winning two of three matches.
SIU’s 42nd-ranked doubles team Brandon Florez and Martijn Admiraal captured the only win as they beat Aaron Dujovne and Szymon Tatarczyk of Purdue 8-6. Junior Badr Cherradi and partner Jordan Snyder lost 9-8 (7-1) in a tiebreak against Purdue. Partners Orhan Spahic and Szymon Opieczonek lost to Krisztian Krocsko and Pawel Poziomski 8-2 against Purdue.
Overall, coach Dann Nelson said his team was a couple plays away from winning the doubles points.
“We were within one hold of serve from winning the doubles points,” Nelson said. “At No. 3 we were up 6-3 but we couldn’t pull it out … it was kind of tough to swallow, but we played well.”
Singles play against Purdue was not as competitive. All six of the Salukis singles players lost. Only Spahic was able to force a third set before ultimately losing 3-6, 7-5, 0-1 (4-10).
The Salukis captured four wins during singles competition as seeds one through four defeated their Bulldog opponents. No. 1 singles player junior Cherradi defeated Tommy Marx of Butler 2-6, 6-2, 6-4. No. 2 singles player Stanislas Rodier defeated Zach Ervin of Butler 6-4, 6-3.
During doubles play, the Salukis continued their strong showing against Butler, winning two of three matches. Admiraal and Florez defeated Zach Ervin and Sam O’Neil 8-2.
Nelson said this meet can be used as a measuring stick against other top competition. Doubles play was solid, while singles play still has room for improvement, Nelson said.
Despite splitting the meet, Florez said the team remains upbeat.
“It was our first win of the season with this new team so it’s pretty exciting,” Florez said. “Even though we lost to Purdue, everyone was fighting really hard.”