A Walk in the Park for the Men In Green


On Saturday, the Michigan State men’s tennis team was fresh and ready to take on Cleveland State and Moorhead State in a double header.

From the minute they stepped onto the floor, the team looked on point. The Spartans were back where they belonged –  the tennis court. Coming into the game after their recent 0-7 loss to University of Michigan, Cleveland State looked to beat Michigan’s rival, Michigan State. Cleveland State held a record of 3-1, giving them confidence going into the game.

Before the match, the Spartans were quiet and composed. Head coach Gene Orlando, who has been at the helm of the MSU tennis team for 25 seasons, motivated the team by giving advice on how to work their opponent.

The match began with some riveting doubles fixtures. As always, Mac Roy and Michael Dube were paired up together and they did an effective job, winning the game 6-2.  Roy came up with huge aces, gaining some easy points.

Billy Shisler and Jasper Koenen were paired up together again. It was a close game, but Michigan State edged it out at the end to win the tiebreaker and make it 7-6.

Alexander Kim and Ivan Rakic had a very strong game too, winning the game 6-4, making it three out of three doubles match won for MSU, which earned them a total of one point out of a total possible seven in the match.

Then it was time for singles. The matches were much closer than what the scores suggest. The Spartans won five out of six singles, which rounded up the overall match score to a total of 6-1.

Dube, Kim and Shishler had tight games, each of them closing it out in the third set. Serves were broken left and right. The whole crowd was behind them, cheering on each forehand and backhand winner. Out of all of the singles, Dube’s game earned the highest attention. All of his teammates were behind him cheering him to another dominant win against a worthy opponent.

When asked about the support, the sophomore from Livonia, Michigan exclaimed, “That was awesome.  That means a lot. That really gets you going, fires you up and really pushes you to that extra limit.”

Jasper did not have as good of a day as the other guys in the team. He lost his singles game 3-6, 4-6.

“It wasn’t a great performance today in the singles, the kid was a tough player,” Jasper said after the game. “Definitely I will get back there next match and stick to my game plan and get a win.”

Jasper mentioned he wanted to come back stronger in the next game against Moorhead State later in the day.

Moorhead State was coming into the game against a B1G Ten team with a fresh loss. Very few people have heard of this college, but their number of foreign players made them unpredictable.

When asked about Moorhead State, Coach Orlando had a humble response.

“Respect every opponent,” Orlando said. “They are a good team. They got a lot of players from abroad, probably older, a lot of experience. So, hopefully we should be prepared for what’s to come.”

MSU tennis did not underestimate and came out with flying colors, earning a 6-1 record.

To everyone’s surprise, Roy lost his single match in the tiebreaker of the third set after fighting very hard for over an hour.

The rest of the matches were easy for the Spartans and they were showing  quality with every shot they made. Fistpumps after fistpump was seen on the court.  

The team didn’t seem exhausted even after playing with all they had. Coach Orlando was very happy to see that the team did well “The guys are growing. You really got a groove after the first game. I feel like the way we trained, we got the job done”.

Typical of a home match, the crowd was energetic and taunts were exchanged in both games in the double header.

With two wins in a row, the Spartans still remain undefeated at home. Their record now stands at 7-2.

The Spartans face one more double header in East Lansing on Sunday, February 14 against Louisville and Chicago State.