Coming from another Big Ten weekend last week — defeating Wisconsin and losing to Minnesota — the Spartans’ 5-2 win against Purdue and 6-1 win against Indiana mark a strong finish to the tough regular season they had.
Purdue was the highest-ranked opponent the Spartans beat this season.
“We approached it like a tournament, one match at a time,” head coach Gene Orlando said. “It’s been an up and down year and I’m just really proud of the guys, how they persevered, and how they stayed mentally tough.”
All athletes were wearing shirts bearing the last name of a senior for the Senior Day match — Aaron Pfister, Drew Lied and Will Davis were the three seniors honored. After the match against the Hoosiers — their 10th home win — MSU has an overall record of 11-13 (5-6 in the Big Ten Conference).
Senior Drew Lied won his last singles match against Indiana sophomore Sam Monette in a second-set tiebreaker. Lied won 6-4, 7-6, and Monette got a game penalty for throwing his racket when he lost.
“I try to keep it as non-personal as possible ... but it always feels good to win against somebody you don’t like as much,” Lied said.
Counting Lied’s singles win, MSU won five of the six singles matches. The team won the doubles point for the 12th time this season, with wins by sophomore John Patrick Mullane and Lied, and juniors Harry Jadun and Gijs Linders.
Mullane and Lied defeated Indiana sophomore Daniel Bednarczyk and Monette, 8-6, and Jadun and Linders won, 8-4, against Indiana junior Sven Lalic and senior Dimitrije Tasic.
“We were down at times, and we were able to play some big points and place ourselves back into the game,” Orlando said.
Jadun also clinched the overall match win for the Spartans when he defeated Indiana sophomore Chris Essick.
The next step after the Senior Day match is the Big Ten Tournament on April 24-27, and MSU will have home-court advantage as tournament hosts.
“It’s a great group of guys, and I wouldn’t choose anybody else to be with,” Lied said. “We worked hard, competed hard, and that’s all we could do.”