EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State men’s tennis team had their first home dual met of the season Saturday, and came away with a pair of 7-0 victories over Toledo and Detroit Mercy at the MSU Tennis Center.
“It definitely feels nice,” senior No. 5 singles/No. 2 doubles player Michael Dube said after the wins. “We got the crowd behind us and that was really good. It definitely gets you pumped up for your matches.”
After opening the spring season on the road the last two weekends, the home meet was a nice change of pace for the Spartans.
“I sent a text to the guys saying, ‘It’s a good day to wake up in East Lansing on a Friday’,” head coach Gene Orlando said. “The last two weekends, we were waking up in different parts of the country and just to have that extra day to practice makes a difference.”
Sophomore Brett Forman agreed.
“It’s a lot less hectic,” Forman said. “I think playing on your own home court, knowing the bounces, definitely helps and just being able to sleep in your own bed the night before a match helps a lot.”
Already playing without one of the team’s top players in junior John Patrick Mullane, who is out with a shoulder injury, Michigan State started out the day two men down as a sophomore Mac Roy, who was recovering from a sickness that kept him out of practice this week, was held out of the doubles portion to start the day.
“We always talk about next man up and if you told me in the fall that this would be the case, I’d be concerned,” Orlando said. “I’m not saying I wasn’t concerned this morning, but they answered the call.”
The day started well for the Spartans against Toledo. Jasper Koenen and Doug Zade opened with a 6-1 win at No. 3 doubles and then Dube and Harry Jadun, who filled in for Roy, added a 6-2 victory at No. 2 doubles to secure a point.
“Obviously this year we have an injury and we had to change it but it’s awesome to see that we can just switch partners and nothing really changes,” Jadun said.
“Harry’s a lefty,” Dube added. “That’s totally different than Mac, but we try to do most of the same things. We basically play the same way. It’s not too much of a difference.”
Jadun, Dube and Koenen followed up their doubles victories by winning their singles matches at three, five and six respectively in straight sets, securing the victory for the Spartans.
“My goal before the match was to really jump on them form the get go and not really give them a chance at the start, and I thought I did a good job of that in singles,” Jadun said.
Forman recovered from some early first set trouble to win, 7-5, 6-0, and get MSU its fifth win, while Gijs Linders and Roy each won their singles matches in third set tiebreakers.
“I thought some of the guys that got down showed good character and stayed with the game plan and found ways to win,” Orlando said.
Following an afternoon layoff, MSU returned to action against Detroit Mercy and the Spartans didn’t miss a beat.
Zade and Koenen won once again in doubles play. Roy returned to doubles action with Dube, but they were beaten 7-5. That left the doubles point resting on the outcome of the No. 1 doubles match, and Linders and Forman came through with a hard fought 7-6 victory.
Singles play also was a clean sweep, as all six Spartans won their matches.
Linders and Roy each won tough matches again at No. 1 and 4 singles respectively, 6-3, 7-6 and 7-6, 7-6. Jadun needed a third set tie breaker to win at No. 3 singles and both Dube and Koenen won in straight sets at five and six respectively. Forman added an identical victory at No. 2 singles.
“I got down early,” Forman said. “I probably didn’t have the right mindset to start the match and once I got composure, I got the ball rolling and I knew I was going to play some good tennis.”
Koenen helped set the table for the Spartans, as he won all four of his matches on the day.
“I was really happy of the way I went out there and just took care of business. I had a good week of practice and it showed today,” Koenen said.
Despite the lopsided scores, Orlando thought the victories were great building blocks for his team.
"The biggest thing is that we were pushed in both matches and in certain spots, I think everybody felt that they dug themselves a hole,” Orlando said. “They were able to get through it and I think that’s important, especially early on.”
The Spartans (4-3) will be off next Saturday when they head to Indiana to take on Ball State and Eastern Illinois.