Men’s tennis team wins sixth GLVC title in program history

Zane Clodfelter

All season long, Southern Indiana Tennis Head Coach Chris Crawford wanted his team to play with the level of potential he knew they had. On Saturday, the Eagles exceeded his expectations when No. 40 USI won the GLVC Championship, defeating No. 20 Drury 5-3 in Indianapolis.

“I saw more than what I’ve ever seen out of these guys this past weekend,” Crawford said. “These guys came in focused – they came in ready to fight.”

Crawford said his team put in the extra work and preparation throughout the weeks leading up to the championship match, and it was rewarding to see the hard work pay off.

“It’s great for the school and great for the program,” Crawford said. “As a coach, I couldn’t be more proud, and just seeing the guys’ reactions makes me happy.”

The Eagles (16-4) won their sixth GLVC title in school history, with the last title coming in 2005.

For senior Ben Boesing, the feeling of finally winning the GLVC title is almost indescribable.

“It’s a relief – we’ve been so close the last three years,” Boesing said. “It’s a lot of weight off my shoulders and it’s the greatest feeling in the world.”

Boesing extended his personal match winning streak to 17 with a 7-5, 7-6 (7-2) win over Drury’s Sergio Manzanas. The win also gave Boesing his 82nd career win as an Eagle, breaking the school record.

Also contributing to the Eagles’ match point total in singles competition was junior Santiago Lopez, who beat Lukas Kriem in three sets, 6-7 (3-7), 7-5, 6-3; and senior Rodrigo Flores, who hit the championship clinching point in his 6-1, 6-1 win over Jandui Reyes.

Jack Joyce, who won GLVC Freshman of the Year honors last week, didn’t figure in the singles total after his match went unfinished when the Eagles earned the necessary points to clinch the title.

The Eagles took two of three matches in the doubles competition, with doubles partners Michael Kuzaj and Juan Quiroz winning their match 8-4 while Flores and Santiago won their doubles match 9-7.

Joyce credited his teammates first for setting the tone early against Drury.

“We go out there and try to start off quickly,” Joyce said. “We did that very well.”

With the win, the Eagles will host the preliminary rounds of the NCAA Tournament on campus this weekend, facing the match winner between Ferris State and Rockhurst Sunday, making the GLVC title all the more sweeter for Crawford and his players.

“The guys were wanting to host,” Crawford said. “They were just as excited on the way home about hosting (as they were about) winning the conference tournament.”

Though the Eagles still have a long way to go, last weekend’s accomplishments will last forever in the mind of the Eagles’ head coach.

“The look on their faces after we won is the one thing I will always remember,” Crawford said. “As a coach, that’s what you want to see – that you know your team enjoys what they are doing.”