Story by Dominic Johnson
Photo by Taylor Soule
The No. 23 Drake men’s tennis team passed its stiffest test of the conference season on Sunday, as the Bulldogs defeated the Wichita State Shockers in Wichita, Kan. Drake rallied from an early 0-2 deficit to win the match 4-2 and remain atop the Missouri Valley Conference standings.
The Bulldogs struggled early on in the match, as they failed to secure the pivotal doubles point. Although the pairing of senior James McKie and freshman Ben Lott won their match 8-2, the two remaining doubles teams failed to do so. Sophomore Alen Salibasic and senior Jean Erasmus lost 2-8, while sophomore Ben Mullis and junior Robin Goodman lost 5-8.
Already facing a 0-1 deficit, things did not get any easier in singles against a very competitive Shockers squad. Lott, who was playing at the sixth singles position, lost 6-3, 6-1 to give Wichita State a 2-0 advantage. Fortunately for the Bulldogs, the momentum began to swing in their favor after Salibasic posted a 6-4, 6-2 victory at the second position. Goodman’s 6-3 6-4 win at third singles evened the score at 2-all.
With the momentum firmly in their grasp, the Bulldogs sprinted towards the finish line. Mullis’ 6-3, 6-1 win put the squad on the brink of victory, and McKie’s 6-4, 6-3 win clinched the match.
Erasmus was still on court when the match finished, but the coaches decided to let the match go unfinished to avoid any potential injury to both players.
With the Shockers out of the way, Drake now focuses their attention on next Saturday’s match against the Salukis of Southern Illinois. The Bulldogs will travel to Carbondale for a 1 p.m. match.
Drake will finally return home to the Roger Knapp Tennis Center on Saturday, April 20 for a matchup against Illinois State. The last time Drake played at home was Feb. 16 against Western Illinois.