Daily Egyptian

SIU men’s tennis wraps up fall season

By Evan Jones, @EvanJones_DE

The SIU men’s tennis team finished the 2015 fall season Oct. 25. It finished with a combined record of 72-33, the team’s best finish since 2005. 

In 2005 the team lost in the first round of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament to Drake, who won the tournament.

The team’s goal before this season was to win the MVC. 

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“We have some pretty high expectations this season,” coach Dann Nelson said before the fall season. “Especially our top doubles team. … They have a competitive rivalry with each other that makes them better.”

The No. 1 doubles team of senior Jonny Rigby and junior Michal Kianicka went 7-2 in the fall season, and won the Flight A doubles draw at the Purdue Invitational Sept. 27.

Kianicka also won the Flight A singles draw in the tournament.

Rigby won two singles matches at the Purdue Invitational. His fifth of seven doubles wins this season moved him to No. 1 all-time for SIU doubles wins with 58. 

“There’s a belief on the whole team that we can win the MVC this year, obviously it won’t be easy but it’s a possibility,” Rigby said. “We don’t know what the spring holds, but me and Mike are a strong pair — we believe we can compete with anybody.”

Newcomers junior Wilder Pimentel, freshman Thomas Kyle and sophomore Shane Trebiske had a combined 21-16 record this fall.

Pimentel went 9-4 in singles and 4-1 in doubles. Pimentel and his doubles partner, sophomore Alex Pozo, won the Flight B doubles bracket at the Purdue Invitational.

Nelson’s team is working on conditioning and strength training to be in top physical form for the spring season, Rigby said.

Rigby said Wichita State and Drake are top competition for the Valley championship. 

“They are always up there, we got a win against Wichita this fall but you never know,” he said.

Rigby and Kianicka beat Wichita State’s doubles team of sophomore Mirolsav Herzan and freshman Haru Inoue 8-4 at the ITA Central Regional on Oct. 18.

Drake’s men’s tennis team has only one upperclassman this season, senior Ben Lott. The seven other players are freshmen and sophomores.

Pimentel said the team can win the MVC because of the Bulldogs’ lack of experience.

Evan Jones can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @EvanJones_DE

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