Right direction: Huskies improve, but fall to Ashland

The Michigan Tech Huskies men’s tennis team fell to an older, more experienced Ashland Eagles team, 7-0, at the Gates Tennis Center Friday. With the loss, the Huskies fell to 2-12 overall and 0-7 GLIAC play. Their wins came in late February against Tiffin 5-2 and 4-3 over Kutztown in early March.

“We’ve got a really young team,” said coach Kevin Kalinec. “They’ve made progress in just about every match that we’ve played, and today was no exception. Today, we played very well in doubles (and) the effort was very good.”

Five of the seven players on the Huskies team are underclassman, providing lots of learning to come for the team. Kalinec was happy with his teams improvement despite the outcome.

“The young guys are learning our system in doubles,” said Kalinec. “In singles, we’re still making good strides as far as how we play points (and) the shot patterns that we use. Overall I’m really happy with this group of guys (who are) young (and) inexperienced, but they’re learning every match.”

Standout moments in the contest for Kalinec came in the one doubles matchup between Stuart Brdicka and Jordan Phelps of Ashland and Mario Neto and Siddhesh Mahadeshwar of the Huskies in the No. 1 doubles match. Brdicka and Phelps held on for a 7-5 win over the Huskies’ duo.

Eagles player Colten Clark came away with a 6-0 shutout in the opening set in No. 4 singles, but Huskies freshman Siddhesh Mahadeshwar put up a fight for a 7-6 outcome in the second set.

The No. 5 singles matchup between Michigan Tech senior Juan Felipe Chica and Ashland’s Tche Kun Teng saw a tiebreaker. Chica came away with the first 7-5, then Teng took the next, 6-1, forcing the tiebreaker, where he won, 10-6.

“Juan (Felipe Chica) at No. 5 played very well,” said Kalinec. “I was very happy with our play at No. 4 as well. (They) won doubles, (but) had a couple of bad breaks in the middle of the set that they couldn’t really recover from. Overall, I liked everybody’s effort. Particularly, our effort at 4 and 5 singles was good.”

The Huskies duo of Nico Caviglia and Ignacio Carbajosa lost to Priyank Soni and Stanislaw Grezelo, 6-0 at No. 2 doubles. Chica and Harry Becht also lost at No. 3 doubles, 6-3, to Colten Clark and Teng.

The Huskies have very little time to regroup before facing Wayne State on Saturday at the Gates Tennis Center at 10 a.m. Kalinec hopes to see longer strides between points for that matchup.

“Really in a (situation) like this, when you have back to back matches, really the most important thing is that they stay hydrated (and) get the nutrition in that they need and get plenty of rest. That’s really all that (we) can do,” said Kalinec. “Tomorrow, before the match we’ll talk about some things that we’ll need to do differently. In singles, I really want us to extend the point a little bit longer. We were giving up too many quick and easy points and giving away too many points and that will be our focus for tomorrow.”

Lexi Bolesky, coach of the Ashland Eagles, was also happy with the sweep momentum going into singles and, most notably, Tche Kun Teng’s comeback in No. 5 singles.

“I believe we started out strong, gaining the momentum with our doubles,” Bolesky said. “Especially on Court 1, coming back from 1-4 down, winning that match to kind of sweep the doubles. I think that gave us a nice energy bost moving into the singles and allowed us to step out with a more confidence.

“Really all of our guys competed really well today,” she said. “Our No. 5, losing the first set and then staying tough and then coming back and winning that second set, 6-1, and ending up with the win, was very impressive.”