Men’s Tennis Edged from Kalamazoo

The Hope College men’s tennis team fought to the last point before falling 5-4 to Kalamazoo College on Saturday at the DeWitt Tennis Center.

The Flying Dutchmen fell to 9-10 overall on the season and 3-3 in MIAA play.

Hope, which sits in fourth place with a 3-3 league record, can qualify for next month’s MIAA tournament with a home win against The University of Olivet on Monday, April 22 at 4 p.m.

Kalamazoo (6-9, 5-1 MIAA) is tied for second place with Calvin University. The Hornets will host undefeated Trine University on Tuesday, April 23 for a share of the MIAA title.

It was the closest the Flying Dutchmen have come to a win over Kalamazoo since a 7-2 win in the 2003 season.

“It’s always a fight that we know it’s going to be a fight until the end,” the head coach said Austin Hunt said. “The fact that it’s so close and every time we played them it got tighter and tighter.”

Hope grabbed a Kalamazoo double play early to stay within striking distance.

On third doubles, freshman Cooper Nugent (Rochester Hills, Mich. / Rochester Adams) and junior Jonathan Eggleston (Yuseong Gu, Daejeon / Taejon Christian International School) won the first match of the day 8-3.

On the top flight, senior Justin Fay (Naperville, Ill./St. Francis) and junior Austin Becksvoort (Holland, Michigan / Holland Christian) played a tight set before losing serve and falling 8-5.

Freshman Paul Schneider (Fishers, Indiana / Hamilton Southeast) and Rylan Doden (Fort Wayne, Indiana / Blackhawk Christian) fell at second doubles, 8-4.

The singles play featured some intense battles that went down to the wire, including four that were decided by a tiebreak in the third set.

Fay lost on the top flight 6-0, 6-1 to the Hornets’ Gabe Vidinas, a two-time All-MIAA selection.

Schneider’s powerful playing style benefited him early in the second singles as he won the first set. Kalamazoo’s Adnan Alousi, a former All-MIAA second-team selection, dug in and rallied for a 5-7, 6-3, 6-0 lead.

Doden also took the first set, but also fell in another marathon match, losing at third singles 1-6, 6-0, 6-2 to Kalamazoo’s Alex Fleming.

Nugent backed up his doubles victory with a singles win, taking the fourth flight in the singles 6-1, 6-2.

Becksvoort extended his singles winning streak to eight matches as he rallied for a 2-6, 6-2, 10-3 victory in the fifth singles match.

Senior Johannes Vos (Cincinnati, Ohio / St. Xavier) delivered the final win of the day in a thrilling 6-2, 0-6, 1-0 (11-9) victory at sixth singles.