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Men’s tennis defeats Hope 5-4 in MIAA Tournament Semifinals

Thursday, May 02, 2013

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Story by Mitch Blankespoor

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Coming off a loss at the hands of the Flying Dutchmen last week, the Calvin men’s tennis team hosted Hope in the MIAA Tournament semifinals May 2 looking for revenge. The match lasted well over four hours, and also included a rain delay. Calvin edged Hope, defeated the Flying Dutchmen 5-4 at Strikwerda Tennis Center.

In the previous match at the DeWitt Tennis Center, the Knights lost all three doubles flights en route to a 6-3 loss at Hope. Calvin was determined to not fall behind early again.

“We knew we needed to win two of the three doubles flights,” said Calvin head coach John Ross after the match.

The Knights did not get off to a good start. The Hope third doubles team of seniors Kyle Kreps (Holland/Holland) and Davis Vander Veen (Clarkston/Clarkston) won 8-1 over Calvin’s third doubles team of senior Jarrod Brower (Holland/Holland Christian) and junior John Strikwerda (Holland/Holland Christian).

Despite being down an early break, Calvin senior Brian DeMaagd (Grandville/Calvin Christian) and junior Loukas Peterson (Brentwood, TN/Brentwood) rebounded to defeat Hope senior Jason Muller (Petoskey/Petoskey) and junior Parker Bussies (Zeeland/Zeeland West) 8-6 at second doubles.

Calvin seniors Preston Phillips (Bexley, OH/Bexley) and Phil Reinken (Morton, IL/Morton) got up an early break at first doubles and held serve to defeat Hope seniors Bobby Cawood (East Lansing/East Lansing) and Gabe Casher (Ann Arbor/Pioneer) 8-6.

Going into the six singles flights, Calvin needed three flights to win the match while Hope needed four. Fifth singles was the first to finish. Brower defeated Hope sophomore Jon Panzer (Rockford/Rockford) 6-0, 6-3.

Hope responded by winning the next two flights in convincing fashion. Cawood defeated DeMaagd 6-2, 6-0 at first singles while Muller defeated Reinken 6-0, 6-2 at third singles.

Calvin regained the 4-3 lead in the match when Phillips defeated Bussies 6-4, 7-5 despite being down 5-2 in the second set.

Once again, Hope answered under pressure tying the match 4-4 when sophomore Cody Herbruck (Grand Rapids/Forest Hills Central) defeated Calvin sophomore Tom Griffin (Elmhurst, IL/Timothy Christian) 6-0, 7-6 (7).

The fourth singles match between Kreps and Peterson would decide who would advance to the finals. Peterson won the first set in a tiebreak, 7-6 (4). Kreps was broken at 6-5 in the second set to force another tiebreak. Peterson won the first two points, but Kreps responded with the next three.

Then Mother Nature intervened. The rain turned from light to heavy, and forced the match to be delayed.

After a 30-minute delay, both players took back to the Striwkerda Tennis Center courts. Peterson won the first two points to make the score 4-3. Kreps forced the score to 6-6, and won the next two points to force a third set.

In the third set, Peterson broke Kreps at love in the first game. Both players held serve until Kreps stepped up to the service line down 5-3 and 15-40. The lefty saved the first match point, but a cross-court forward when long on the second point.  Peterson defeated Kreps 7-6 (4), 6-7 (6), 6-3 to clinch the match.

The victory for Peterson over Kreps was his second in as many matches. Peterson defeated Kreps 7-6 (2), 7-5 April 23 at the DeWitt Tennis Center.

“I give Loukas [Peterson] a ton of credit,” Ross said. “Kyle [Kreps] is one of the toughest competitors in the conference.”

Calvin improves to 14-5 on the season and is also 5-1 in the MIAA. The Knights earn a berth in the MIAA Tournament final for the third consecutive year. Calvin will travel Kalamazoo to take on the Hornets tomorrow, May 3, for a 4:00 p.m. match at Stowe Tennis Stadium.

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