After a strong start at the Missouri Valley Conference Individual Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, last weekend, the men’s tennis team could not overcome the challenges that came its way.
The team kicked off the championships with three straight singles wins from junior Milos Romic and seniors Evgeny Samoylov and Michel Macara-chivili.
In the top-singles flight, Romic defeated Creighton’s Jose Guerra, 6-2, 6-0, to advance to the semifinals.
Samoylov and Macara-chivili gained wins over Creighton’s Kyle Obermeier, 6-2, 6-0, and Illinois State’s Daniel Tobar, 6-1, 6-3, in singles third and fourth flight to continue on to the semifinal round after one day of play.
Coach Jesse Plote said the players’ key to success was their hard work.
“Milos, Evengeny and Michel had really good first-round matches and they were there to compete the entire match,” he said.
After losing their hard fought semi-final matches, Romic, Macara-chivili and Samoylov could not bounce back. All three Braves dropped their potential third-place matches.
Romic fell to ISU’s Filip Miljevic, 7-5, 6-1, in the semifinals and in time lost to Wichita State’s Vladamir Marinescu in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0, to finish the weekend with a 1-2 record.
Macara-Chivili was beaten in three sets in a, 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, decision to Eric West of Southern Illinois in semifinal play and was defeated by Felipe Villasenor of SIU, capturing a fourth place finish in the fourth singles flight.
Plote said he’d like to see the team try out new strategies.
“They need to be a little more creative when we are up against top schools which can get very challenging,” he said.
Junior Callen Fraychineuad wasn’t able to fend off Mauricio Ballivian of Drake losing his quarterfinal match in second singles flight.
Although he dropped his first match, Fraychineuad bounced back through the back draw of second-singles flight, gaining victories over Creighton’s Gabe Nagy and Mpiloenhle Migogo of Indiana State for a fifth-place finish during the second day of the championships. Ballivian eventually captured first place.
“Callen was a little up and down this weekend, but he bounced back and was able to play better and finish strong,” Plote said.
In doubles play, Romic and Fraychineaud squared off against Indiana State’s Josh Smith and Mpiloenhle Migogo in the top doubles flight.
Romic and Fraychineaud won with a slim 9-8 victory, allowing them to advance to the next round to play Drake’s Maor Zirkin and Evgeny Silitski where they lost 8-5 in top-doubles flight.
Samoylov and freshman Mitch Osborne along with the pair of Macara-chvili and sophomore Trevor McGrath both lost in the quarterfinal round.
Plote said he was pleased with what he saw the team accomplish and said the team had a good experience for the start of the season.
“Everyone fought really hard from the first day to the last day,” he said. “We need to take these positive things and take them with us to our dual matches.”
The Braves are back in action at 4 p.m. today in Saint Louis and will return home to host IUPUI at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Clubs at River City.
Western Illinois visits Peoria at 1 p.m. Sunday.