Dominant performance sparks men’s tennis spring season

Andrew Zienty

Demetri Triantafel in his first solo match against Greenville
Photo: Justin Piotrowski

The men’s tennis team started right back where they ended in the fall with two match wins on Feb.13 against Loras College and Greenville University. Illinois Wesleyan stayed undefeated on the year, securing a 7-2 win over Loras and a 5-4 win over Greenville.

This set of matches comes after a shortened 2020 spring season and only one match was played in late September 2020. The break from play was long, but the team came out victorious in both matches months after last competing.

“Life during a pandemic has been difficult, but competing during a pandemic, while it might be more difficult, has made coping with pandemic life much easier,” senior Dylan Mikaili said.

The Greenville win was led by strong individual performances from No.1 ranked junior Demetri Triantafel who finished with a  performance of 6-1 and 6-1 and No.2 ranked sophomore Carter Burk who earned his win with a performance of 6-0 and 6-1. 

“I’m most proud of the way the team competed and the high energy we brought to the matches. 

Hard work and dedication have been the biggest factors in both my own and the team’s success so far,” Burk said.

The doubles matches were very similar with all three pairings earning wins, Triantafel/ Burk won 8-2, first-years Ryan McCoy/ Evan Turnball won 8-6 and seniors Tim Hughes/ Dylan Mikaili won 8-7.   

Seniors Tim Hughes(left) and Dylan Mikaili(right) in their first doubles match against Greenville Photo: Justin Piotrowski

“Winning always feels great, but getting these two wins this early in the season, gives us some much-needed confidence to carry into our next matches,” Mikaili said.

IWU was also victorious against Loras 5-4 in a much closer match. This win was also led by Triantafel who won 6-3 and 6-3 as well as Burk who won 6-2 and 6-1.

“The energy we brought is something we have improved on tremendously and it was the key difference-maker in that last match. We were the louder team and picked each other up when we needed to,” Triantafel said.

The doubles matches had similar outcomes to the first dual against Greenville IWU took two of three from Loras with wins from the Triantafel/Burk pairing and the Hughes/Mikaili pairing both winning 8-2 and 8-1 respectively.

“We have some new faces this year, but things seem to be clicking fast. We’re eager to get to the conference matches and really shock some teams that we have not been able to compete with in the past,” Triantafel said.

The team is 3-0 on the school year and will compete again on February 20th against Webster University and Principia College. They will begin conference play on March 26 against North Central College.