The Braves had a successful outing last weekend, winning two of three matches by defeating IUPUI and Western Illinois.
After facing an early deficit, the Braves came away with a narrow 4-3 victory over a struggling WIU team on Sunday, giving them their first back-to-back dual matches of the season.
In doubles play, the Braves’ Michel Macara-chivili and Richard Robertson were the lone pair to gain a victory over their opponents.
Juniors Milos Romic and Callen Fraychineaud, along with freshman Mitch Osborne and senior Evegeny Samoylov dropped their doubles matches, 8-5 and 8-3, respectively, against WIU’s Zach Frisch and Fransisco Ortiz, along with the pair Sean Ragee-Nelson and Mike Schild respectively, giving WIU a 1-0 lead.
Coach Jesse Plote gave WIU’s doubles pairs some credit.
“Their niche is doubles,” he said. “We were playing a really good doubles team, but we still fought hard.”
The Braves didn’t look back after dropping the first point.
In the top singles position, Romic cruised past Frisch, 6-2, 6-0, giving the Braves the momentum they needed.
Romic admitted to being upset after dropping the doubles point, but said the loss of the point gave him the push he needed.
“I was really angry after doubles, but that was the driving force for me during my match,” he said. “I tried to get the first point every time and I didn’t let myself go down and that was key.”
Fraychineaud gained the Braves’ second point by defeating Neil Lesinski in the second singles position in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3. Fraychineaud felt the same way as Romic after losing their doubles match, but said he had to put it behind him.
“I fought for every ball today, and I had to stay aggressive,” he said. “After that doubles point, we had a team meeting and regrouped and we just took it from there.”
Robertson soon earned another point and won his first singles match of the dual season in the fifth singles position, beating Rodrigo Azevedo, 6-4, 7-6.
The Braves then clinched the dual victory after Samoylov routed Francisco Ortiz at third singles position, 6-2, 6-2.
Macara-chivili dropped his match against Ragee-Nelson, 7-5, 6-1 at the fourth singles position. Osborne lost a hard-fought battle against long-time friend Jim Capalbo in three sets, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 at the sixth singles position.
Plote said the team created an opening and crawled right in. He also said nothing can measure how hard the team played.
“We competed with our hearts today,” he said. “Even though it wasn’t our best performance, we showed them we have guts.”
Earlier that weekend the Braves struggled against Saint Louis, dropping their dual opener, 6-1, but quickly bounced back at home on Saturday, trouncing IUPUI with key wins from the doubles pairing of Osborne and Samoylov, along with winning the top four singles positions lead by Romic and Fraychineaud.
The Braves are back in action Saturday at 1 p.m. at home against Valparaiso, and again at 5 p.m. playing host to Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.