Story by Dominic Johnson
Story by Morgan Dezenski
The Bulldogs went into the match looking to get an early advantage by capturing the doubles point, and they did just that.
Drake was led by junior Robin Goodman and sophomore Ben Mullis at the third doubles spot. The duo rushed out to an 8-3 win over Jim Beckwith and Ross VanderPloeg of Western Michigan. Seniors James McKie and Anis Ghorbel, ranked No. 28 in the nation in doubles, then captured the doubles point after an 8-6 win over Ruben Greiner and Nadin Indre at the top doubles slot. Freshman Ben Lott and sophomore Alen Salibasic also won their match 8-6 at the second slot.
“We managed to sweep doubles against a good team,” McKie said. “Especially impressed with the way Robin (Goodman) and Ben (Mullis) played. They destroyed their opponents and put us in a good position for the rest of doubles.”
“We played with a high intensity and just did the basic things very well,” Goodman added.
As the match shifted into singles play, the Broncos responded by taking the first match at the top singles spot. Western Michigan’s Indre took out No. 72 McKie 6-2, 6-2 to tie the score at 1-1. The Bulldogs took over from then on, though, with Goodman once again leading the charge for Drake. Goodman would easily dispatch Greiner 6-3, 6-3 at the third position.
The Bulldogs kept rolling at the fifth position, where Mullis took out Pablo Mora 6-1, 6-4.
“I played a solid match doing the basics well to achieve the desired result,” Mullis said. “I served and returned well, and the rest took care of itself.”
The last straight-sets win of the day came from the racquet of No. 45 Ghorbel, who beat VanderPloeg 7-5, 6-1. With the match already decided in the Bulldogs’ favor, the two remaining matches were battles at the fourth and sixth singles positions.
Lott came back from losing the first set 5-7, to win the next two sets 6-3, 6-4. Salibasic’s match was close throughout, though, with the Drake sophomore narrowly winning the first set 7-6 (4) before losing the second 4-6. Salibasic and his opponent Aaron Wong then moved into a third set super-tiebreaker, which Salibasic would win 10-8 to put the final score at 6-1 for the Bulldogs.
“My energy dropped down during the second, and that is probably why I lost it,” Salibasic said. “I just needed to make sure to get my intensity going again in the third and close it out.”
Drake will return to Iowa City on Wednesday to take on in-state rival Iowa. The last time the Bulldogs traveled to Iowa City was in the 2011 spring season, and Iowa won 5-2. Last season, the Bulldogs dominated the Hawkeyes 7-0 at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center, though, and are looking for a similar result this week.