Radford University tennis sweeps away competition

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The Radford University men's tennis team is of to a blazing start in 2011. Photo by Thomas Bowman - The Tartan

Matt Halberg


Nationally ranked Radford University Tennis got off to a fast start on its week with a series of matches against non-conference opponent Tennessee Tech. TTU, heavily outmatched by the wide range of talent the Highlanders brought to the court, fell hard as RU managed to shut out their opponent on March 25.
Led by Croatian native and senior Ivan Salec, who notched his 100th career singles victory during the weekend, the Highs bumped up their winning streak to 10 straight while improving to 14-3 overall on the spring season.

Salec, who is ranked No. 82 by most rankings, became just the second player in RU history to achieve the 100 win milestone for his collegiate career. Current assistant coach Martin Sayer is the other, as he recorded 114 wins in his stellar run with the Highs.

The Highs have now won 13 of their last 14, and on Friday they swept the doubles portion of the event for the seventh time this season. Freshman Stijn Meulemans, sophomore Thomas Dehaen and junior Igor Ogrizek all tallied singles wins on the back leg of the event. Freshman Joe Mills, who fought back from an early deficit, and freshman Nick Sayer, who dominated his competition in a three set decision, secured the final wins to wrap up the shutout in RU’s favor.

Friday’s sweep of TTU was the second consecutive for RU, and their 15th dating back to 2009. After their meet with Southern Virginia University was postponed due to rain on Saturday, March 25, the Highs competed against George Washington University in Blacksburg.

Continuing their recent dominating play, RU managed to sweep their opponents yet again as they trounced GW by a score of 4-0. The Highs extended their winning streak to 11 straight in the non-conference win. The third consecutive shutout ensured that the No. 63 ranked Highs would improve to 15-3 overall.

The first-year duo of Mills and Sayer came into play once again when the team secured a point in doubles action with a 9-8 win. The close match was the only time that GW ever even came close to threatening RU’s shutout victory.

Ogrizek and Meulemans secured the second and final doubles win for the Highs at the No. 2 spot, while Sayer competed in his second match of the day, only this time in singles action. Sayer dusted his competition, winning two straight sets and nullifying the need for a third.

Just 24 hours after recording his 100th career win, Salec notched his 101st victory with a come-from-behind win over GW’s Ugur Atalay. Salec’s victory meant that RU was just one point away from a team victory and their third straight sweep of an opponent.

Just minutes after Salec notched his 15th victory of the spring season, Dehaen recorded his 14th singles triumph to give the Highs the team victory.

RU now improves to 15-3 overall on the season and will play its final road victory on Thursday, March 31 against James Madison University.