Story by Dominic Johnson
The No. 23 Drake men’s tennis team started off its conference slate with a 6-1 victory over the Creighton Bluejays on Saturday. The Bulldogs traveled to Omaha, Neb., looking to restore their winning ways after losing just their second match of the season against Harvard over spring break. The win over the Bluejays moved Drake’s record to 18-2.
The Bulldogs were in control of the match from the start. Creighton is a team known for having better doubles than singles players, but they were no match for the Bulldogs.
Senior Jean Erasmus and junior Robin Goodman kicked off Drake’s winning ways with an 8-3 victory over Ryan Norman and Nick Thompson of Creighton. Senior James McKie and sophomore Ben Mullis soon followed suit, as the duo registered an 8-3 victory of its own over Brandon Lee and Sean Mathison.
With the doubles point already going to the Bulldogs, the final doubles match proved tense. Senior Ryan Drake and sophomore Grant Tesmer teamed up at the third doubles position to take on Elliott Baker and August Nysted. Baker and Nysted forced the tiebreaker, but it was Drake and Tesmer who won 8-7 (7).
Drake didn’t miss a beat in the transition to singles, and Goodman led the Bulldogs. Goodman recorded a perfect 6-0, 6-0 over Creighton’s Baker at the third position. The top of Drake’s lineup continued to dominate, as No. 122 Alen Salibasic won 6-0, 6-3 over Ryan Norman. No. 123 McKie quickly clinched the match for the Bulldogs with a 6-1, 6-2 win against Mathison.
Both Tesmer and Mullis finished their matches off strong, with Tesmer winning 6-0, 6-3 over Lee and Mullis winning 6-1, 6-3 over Quinn Dippel. Unfortunately, not all the Bulldogs finished with a win on Saturday. Ryan Drake lost to Anthony Rauschenbach at the sixth position, 6-4, 3-6, 10-7 in a third set super-tiebreaker.
“I think it was great for us to get our first conference win on the board and not to be complacent after playing and competing with many Top-20 teams,” Mullis said. “It was a great performance from the guys without the loss of too many games on each court to get our conference season underway.”
The Bulldogs look to go 2-0 in the MVC next weekend as they travel to Wichita, Kan., to take on the Wichita State Shockers. The Shockers pose a tough task for Drake, as they are a dangerous squad. Earlier this season, the Shockers were ranked as high as No. 71 in the nation, but have since fallen out of the rankings. Wichita State is currently on a 3-game losing streak, and the Bulldogs look to make that four straight at 10 a.m. on Sunday.