Coming off a road trip where the Purdue men’s tennis faced some of the toughest competition in the country and lost, Sunday’s triple-header allowed the Boilermakers to get back on track by winning all three matches by significant margins.
Purdue opened play early in the day, taking on the Drake Bulldogs, and sent one of the best doubles pairs in the country: redshirt junior Gergely Madarasz and senior Ricky Medinilla. They made quick work, 6-2, of Drake’s top doubles partners Vinny Gillespie and Calum MacGeoch.
In singles play, freshman phenom Stephan Koenigsfest bounced back from the first loss of his collegiate career (against Louisville just 48 hours earlier) and got off to a hot start against Drake’s Barny Thorold. He won the first set 6-1 but faced a tough second set in which both players played into a tiebreak. Sensing the moment, Koenigsfest took control of the tiebreak and won 7-1. This singles match clinched the 4-0 victory for the Boilermakers and ended their three-game losing streak.
“I think these kind of matches really help us because we are going to Texas next week to play against some good team,” said Koenigfest. “We have a really good team and we have a lot of chances (to make the NCAA).”
After losing to Drake last season, this victory was a bit sweeter than most for the returning players. Head coach Pawel Gajdzik emphasized that, despite the score, the Bulldogs were not an easy opponent.
“Drake is a very good team. (They) are a top-20 or top-30 team. I expect them fully to be in the NCAA tournament,” said Gajdzik. “I thought we rebounded well.”
They took that momentum into their next two matches, both against Indiana Tech. Gajdzik understood the afternoon and evening matches would give his team a chance to display their depth.
Seniors Matt Bouggy and Lucas Omer Dages and junior Renan Hanayama all got a chance to play in both matches against the Warriors. In his first match Bouggy fought hard in the three-set match that went into a long tiebreak. The West Lafayette native won 10-7, which gave Purdue the 7-0 sweep in the first match. The final match of the day ended up like the first, a 4-0 victory for the Boilermakers.
Sunday’s triple-header victories improve Purdue’s record to 6-3 for the season. However, they will face another set of tough matches against No. 14 Baylor and No. 10 Texas when they travel to the Lone Star State next weekend.