Story by Austin Cannon
Photo by Joel Venzke
The No. 65 Bulldogs couldn’t wait to take on their in-state rival.
“Everyone was really excited to play that match,” said junior Ravi Patel. “We just all wanted to prove ourselves.”
That excitement quickly turned into results as Patel and fellow junior Matt Frost took the first match of the day, 8-2 over Hawkeyes Matt Hagan and Joey White.
Senior Robin Goodman and sophomore Ben Lott secured the doubles point for Drake by beating Brain Alden and Michael Swank, 8-5.
“Everybody came out guns blazing. The crowd was behind us,” Patel said. “It was amazing.”
Junior Ben Mullis then beat Swank, 6-1, 6-1, upping the Drake lead to 2-0.
Patel beat Dominic Patrick, 6-3, 6-1, to bring the Bulldogs within a point of victory.
Alen Salibasic earned the decisive victory over Jonas Dierckx on court No. 1.
Salibasic fell behind 5-2 in the first set before battling back to win it, 7-6 (5).
The junior from Bosnia and Herzegovina won the second set 6-2, to give Drake the win.
Frost, Lott and Goodman also recorded victories to round out the sweep.
The sweep earned Drake some respect.
“I think their coach was impressed with us, saying that we were undoubtedly a Top-20 team, which obviously makes us feel good because they respect us,” Patel said.
The Iowa victory also gave the Bulldogs a foundation to build off in future matches.
“It gives us confidence moving forward,” Patel said. “We can put that exact technique, tactical stuff into the matches we’re going to play in the future.
Earlier in the day, Drake took care of business against Graceland, 7-0.
“We didn’t want to overlook that team, even though we beat them pretty comfortably last year. We came out focused. We got the job done,” Patel said. “Nobody was complacent.”
The No. 19 doubles team of Patel and Goodman beat Birkir Gunnarson and Jose Razo to clinch the doubles point for the Bulldogs.
Goodman then turned around and beat Jamie Sordyl, 6-0, 6-4 to extend the lead to 2-0.
Mullis took down Brezile Hamilton on No. 4, 6-1, 6-2, making the score 3-0.
Junior Grant Tesmer clinched the winning point for Drake, beating Gustavo Yanez, 6-2. 6-1.
Lott and Patel also secured victories.
On court No. 6, sophomore Rakshit Rishi defeated Oscar Chang Tun Jie, 7-5, 6-1, to earn his first-ever career singles victory.
He teamed up with Frost to earn his first doubles win, beating Chang Tun Jie and Sordyl, 8-1, earlier in the day.
The Bulldogs travel to Lincoln, Neb., Saturday to face the Utah Utes. Drake is set to play Nebraska on Sunday.