Salukis fall to conference foe Drake in important MVC test

By Gus Bode

Men’s tennis unable to ‘Drake’ in a victory

Salukis fall to conference foe Drake in important MVC test

SIU men’s tennis player Peter Bong’s prediction of the Salukis’ much-anticipated battles against Drake and Creighton would have landed him at the stake 311 years ago for psychic powers.

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“If we lose, I reckon it will be close. I reckon it will come down to the doubles,” Bong said Thursday.

Bong went on as far to even postulate that SIU “should beat Creighton pretty easily.”

Now in a less-Puritan stronghold, Bong was able to voice his prediction and nailed a bullseye after the Salukis split three matches apiece with the Bulldogs before losing the doubles point 2-1.

Then the Dawgs went on to defeat Creighton, although it was not easy as Bong thought. SIU won 4-3 after pulling out the two wins in the doubles matches for the decisive winning point.

“It was a lot closer than I thought it would be actually,” sophomore Lucasz Soswa said of the previously thought-of pushover Creighton. “They were just better than we expected. We didn’t play bad, but they played well. We came out with the win and that is what matters.”

The doubles matches were heated and highly competitive in both matches. Against Drake in the No. 1 doubles match, the Bulldogs’ duo of Jack Frankowicz and Felipe Montenegro eked past SIU’s tandem of Soswa and freshman Bojan Illevski 8-6.

Then in No. 2 doubles, Anthony Perkins and Kirk Schuler defeated the Salukis’ Bong and Gian Carlo Remigio 8-5.

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Creighton was equally as difficult.

It came down to the final match after Soswa and Illevski lost in the first match to the Bluejays’ duo of Kevin Otto and Tom McCarthy 8-4.

“We were kind of disappointed, we were up in the whole match. We had some bad calls made against us,” said Soswa.

Bong and Remigio defeated Vince Meens and Eduardo Pignatari 8-4 setting up the decisive rubber match.

And SIU came through as Alon Savidor and Julian Angel Botero destroyed the Bluejays’ pair of Richard Gonzales and Evan Kimura 8-3.

SIU head coach Missy Jeffrey has said on numerous occasions that winning the doubles’ point is a prime area of concern for her team. She said players have been drilled in practices and have also battled each other in head-to-head doubles matches.

Savidor may have less complaints about the loss than his other Saluki teammates, though. His win in No. 2 singles on Saturday jolted him into a sole possession of No. 20 on SIU’s all-time career win list with 47 victories. He defeated Frankowicz 2-6, 6-3, 10-7 and then eked out a nailbiter against CU”s Tom McCarthy 6-4, 3-6, 6-0 for the honor.

Another Saluki who showed spunk was freshman Tomas Gonzales. He annihilated Matt McClure in straight sets 6-2, 6-0 then later wiped out Creighton’s Gonzales 7-6, 6-2 to remain undefeated in all of his matches playing in the top six spots in singles.

The only loss the sensation has recorded was at the No. 7 singles spot in the Missouri Valley Conference championship game, his first-ever competition in college.

The squad has another big weekend and road trip when it treks to Wichita, Kan., to battle the Shockers – who Jeffrey stated was another must-win match – and then finish up by taking on the Southwest Missouri State Bears in Springfield, Mo.

“It is important for us to pull out at least one of those two,” Soswa said. “To win one would be a good outcome. From no one, we are not talking about any easy matches. We are not going to come out cocky anymore.”

Reporter Zack Creglow can be reached at [email protected]

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