Men’s tennis ends season on high note at regionals

Warhawks Byron Balkin and Mitch Osborne were the No. 1 ranked doubles team in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Midwest Regional tournament last weekend in St. Peter, Minn, but ended up getting bounced in the quarterfinals.

Balkin also lost in the quarterfinals on the singles side of things against No. 1 seed Amrik Donkeva of Gustavus. Balkin played Donkeva to a tough three-set match, losing 2-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4. Donkeva ended up winning the singles tournament.

“It’s a pretty hard tournament because there are some really good players,” Balkin said. “Each team is throwing their best players in, but overall I thought I did pretty well.  The season’s really short in the fall because it’s just a couple tournaments and it just helps you get ready for the main season in the spring. It’s always good to get a few matches in before the spring season starts though.”

Head Coach Frank Barnes liked how the ’Hawks played overall at regionals. He also thought highly of how Balkin did for the entire tournament.

“If you do well in both singles and doubles you pretty much have a disadvantage when it comes down to the wire,” Barnes said. “I thought it was a very good fall season. Following last year, we had high expectations, but to be realistic, we still had a really good tournament. Mitch Osborne was a point away from making the round of 16 and he was playing the number two seed.”

Over the winter, the ’Hawks don’t see action until late January, but during their time off, the captains get together four to five times a week to get ready for the spring season.

Barnes believes that getting the doubles teams ready can set the tone for a great spring.

“If we can get our doubles teams ready for a match, I think that’s the key, because you play doubles first,” Barnes said.