Junior Badr Cherradi finished the season 9-10 overall with his 7-6 (5), 1-6, 7-5 victory over ISU's Alexander Pelaez at No. 1 singles.
April 27, 2012
By Tyler Wooten
OMAHA, Neb. -- The Southern Illinois men's tennis team concluded its season Friday at the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, falling 4-3 to Illinois State in a marathon match.
The Salukis (9-13) finished the season with yet another valiantly fought effort against the Redbirds (9-13), who took down Southern in the regular season finale last Sunday (April 22), 4-3. This final matchup clocked in at five hours and 38 minutes and the start was delayed several times throughout the day.
Southern jumped out in front 1-0 with the doubles point once play was started at 5:15 p.m., taking victories at the top two positions. At No. 1 doubles, senior Stanislas Rodier and junior Brandon Florez defeated ISU's top duo of Alexander Pelaez and Tuomas Manner, 8-3. At the second position, junior Orhan Spahic and freshman Szymon Opieczonek once again defeated the Redbird tandem of Muddappa Appanervand and Willi Peter, 8-6, in a mirror of their matchup on April 22 in Carbondale.
The Redbirds quickly tied the score at No. 3 singles with Skip Span's victory over Florez, 3-6, 2-6. The Salukis turned around and won at No. 4 with a trying victory from Spahic. The Bosnian native only allowed two games in the first set, but ISU's Appanervand fought into a tiebreak in the second set, forcing a third set where Southern's Spahic eventually overcame the Redbird charge, winning 6-2, 6-7 (4), 6-4.
With the score 2-1 in Southern's favor, the Redbirds took three out of the next four matches en route to victory. The Redbirds' next point came at No. 2, where Rodier concluded his one-year Saluki career with a three-set loss to Manner, 6-4, 1-6, 1-6. Rodier finishes his career at Southern Illinois at 12-14 overall in singles (a team-best 10-9 in dual-match play) and 10-11 in doubles (9-6 in dual-match).
"The way our guys played was tremendous, we just played with a lot of guts today," said head coach Dann Nelson. "The doubles point gave us a ton of confidence. Badr beat their best player Pelaez in a great match, and Orhan just found a way to win. I'm just really proud of the way our guys played and fought today."
The Salukis finish the season at 9-13 overall. Southern only loses Rodier to graduation, and it will welcome back 2011 MVC Freshman of the Year Jorge Cavero, who was injured through the entirety of the 2012 dual-match campaign.
"With Jorge being out and us playing the hardest schedule in a really long time, especially since I've been here, 9-13 overall and being tied for third place, I think we did a great job," Nelson said. "We had a nationally ranked doubles team, we had guys step up when we needed them to when Jorge went down, and I'll take it. Guys stepped up big and improved all throughout the year."
1. Badr Cherradi (SIU) def. Alexander Pelaez (ILS) 7-6 (7-5), 1-6, 7-5
2. Tuomas Manner (ILS) def. Stanislas Rodier (SIU) 4-6, 6-1, 6-1
3. Skip Span (ILS) def. Brandon Florez (SIU) 6-3, 6-2
4. Orhan Spahic (SIU) def. Muddappa Appanervand (ILS) 6-2, 6-7 (4-7), 6-4
5. Willi Peter (ILS) def. Rafael Cuadrillero (SIU) 6-1, 7-5
6. Jordan Badenko (ILS) def. Szymon Opieczonek (SIU) 6-2, 6-4
1. Stanislas Rodier/Brandon Florez (SIU) def. Alexander Pelaez/Tuomas Manner (ILS) 8-3
2. Orhan Spahic/Szymon Opieczonek (SIU) def. Willi Peter/Muddappa Appanervand (ILS) 8-6
3. Skip Span/Jordan Badenko (ILS) def. Badr Cherradi/Jordan Snyder (SIU) 8-5