MARION, Ind. -- Grace's men's tennis team slipped 5-4 to Indiana Wesleyan in the first round of the Mid-Central College Conference Tournament on Thursday, ending an injury-riddled year.
The fifth-seeded Lancers (6-5) played with their top player in Michael Blevins for the first time in nearly three weeks. Unfortunately, his two sprained ankles severely limited him as he lost 6-1, 6-1 to the Wildcats (7-6).
"It was a very hard season playing without our top player from the get-go," said head coach Larry Schuh. "When you compete long enough, you experience seasons like that."
Grace took two points in doubles competition at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles but could only grab wins at two singles positions -- with Nikola Todorovic at No. 2 singles and Aaron Blevins at No. 3 singles.
Freshman sensation Michael Humphrey also dropped his first match of the year 6-1, 6-2 at No. 6 singles after battling the flu for the past two days. Jon Allan also played through a respiratory sickness, dropping a three-set game after winning the opening set.
"We entered the tournament 6-4, which was huge for us considering the circumstances," Schuh continued. "Our team handled it well and played hard. Fortunately, we're a very young team so the future is bright."
1. Michael Blevins lost 6-1, 6-1
2. Nikola Todorovic won 6-1, 6-1
3. Aaron Blevins won 6-3, 6-1
4. Jack Wang lost 6-2, 6-0
5. Jon Allan lost 6-4, 4-6, 0-6
6. Michael Humphrey lost 6-1, 6-2
1. M. Blevins/Todorovic won 8-5
2. Josh Beguin/A. Blevins won 8-6
3. Humphrey/Allan lost 8-5
FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- Michael Humphrey found himself down five games to one in the deciding third set against Indiana Tech with an undefeated season on the line. But the resilient freshman refused to lose.
Humphrey overcame multiple match points to roll off six straight games to complete an undefeated regular season in singles competition, and Grace's men's tennis team edged Indiana Tech 5-4 in the regular season finale.
"Michael's performance tonight was incredible, especially considering the fact he was under the weather today," said head coach Larry Schuh. "It's terrific to end the season on such a positive note for our team."
Josh Beguin and Aaron Blevins won 8-5 at No. 1 doubles. The pair never lost a point at the top doubles position while playing for the injured Michael Blevins.
The Lancers (6-4) now await the seeding and the announcements of the Mid-Central College Conference tournament bracket.
1. Nikola Todorovic lost 6-4, 4-6, 10-6
2. Aaron Blevins won 6-4, 6-3
3. Jack Wang lost 6-2, 6-1
4. Jon Allan lost 6-2, 6-2
5. Michael Humphrey won 2-6, 6-1, 7-5
6. Parker Snowden won 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
1. Josh Beguin/A. Blevins won 8-5
2. Todorovic/Wang won 8-6
3. Humphrey/Allan lost 8-4
GOSHEN, Ind. -- Freshman Michael Humphrey won 6-0, 6-1 to complete an undefeated season in conference play.
His performance helped Grace's men's tennis team defeat Goshen College on Friday, 6-3 to secure fifth place in the Mid-Central College Conference. The Lancers (5-4; 4-4 MCC) swept all three doubles positions. Michael Blevins, battling injuries the entire year, returned to action to win No. 1 doubles 8-3 with Nikola Todorovic.
"This is a positive note to end the conference season on," said head coach Larry Schuh. "Our roster is healing, and we are peaking at the right time."
Aaron Blevins won 6-1, 6-2 at No. 2 singles. Aaron has not lost this season at his usual position (No. 3 singles) but has played up one spot since his brother Michael's injury.
The Lancers return to action on Saturday against UNOH at Miller Field at noon.
1. Nikola Todorovic lost 6-2, 6-1
2. Aaron Blevins won 6-1, 6-2
3. Jack Wang won 5-7, 6-1(10-3)
4. Jon Allan lost 6-4, 6-7, 7-5
5. Michael Humphrey won 6-0, 6-1
6. Parker Snowden lost 6-4, 7-5
1. Todorovic/M. Blevins won 8-3
2. A. Blevins/Josh Beguin won 8-5
3. Humphrey/Allan won 8-2
WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Grace's men's tennis team put on a dominating performance at Miller Field, sweeping the University of Saint Francis on Tuesday.
The Lancers (4-4; 3-4 MCC), still playing without their top player in Michael Blevins, did not drop a single set in either singles or doubles competition.
Michael Humphrey continued his unbeaten season in singles play with a 6-0, 6-0 win at the No. 5 slot. Nikola Todorovic took down the Cougars' (0-8; 0-8 MCC) top player with an impressive 6-1, 6-1 win at No. 1 singles. The closest match all game came in the second set at No. 3 singles, where Jack Wang won 6-4.
The Lancers have one more conference game remaining. They take on Goshen College on Friday at 3:45 p.m at Miller Field.
1. Nikola Todorovic won 6-1, 6-1
2. Aaron Blevins won 6-0, 6-1
3. Jack Wang 6-1, 6-4
4. Jon Allan 6-0, 6-1
5. Michael Humphrey 6-0, 6-0
6. Parker Snowden won 6-0, 6-1
1. A. Blevins/Josh Beguin won 8-3
2. Todorovic/Wang won 8-2
3. Humphrey/Allan won 8-1
WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- Nikola Todorovic and Jessica Stolle headlined Grace College's performance at the ITA Invitational by advancing to the quarterfinals, winning their first three matches before bowing out.
Todorovic came from behind to win his frist match, then cruised through his next two matches before falling to the tournament's fifth seed from Roberts Wesleyan University. Todorovic was ranked 14th in the 60-player tournament.
Stolle was the number-two seed in the tournament and dominated 6-1, 6-2 in the round of 16 over Diane Favela of Davenport University. Stolle lost in three sets in the quarterfinals.
Freshman Aaron Blevins also had a good showing for the men, upsetting No. 10 Juan Cardenas from the University of Northwestern Ohio 6-3, 7-6 in the first round. Blevins lost in the second round.
Andrea Redhair and Jenessa Jergensen both advanced to the second round before falling.
HUNTINGTON, Ind. -- Grace's men's tennis fell narrowly to Huntington 6-3 on Tuesday.
The Lancers (3-4; 2-4 MCC) won two points in singles competition and one point in doubles competition, due primarily to the continued strong play of freshmen Aaron Blevins and Michael Humphrey.
Blevins and Humphrey have combined for a pair of points in singles play in every match except one this season. Blevins took a two-set win in No. 3 singles, and Humphrey continued his undefeated season with a win at No. 6 singles.
Humphrey contributed in doubles play, as well, winning with Jon Allan at No. 3 doubles 8-4.
Grace's next competition is the ITA Tournament, where the Lancers will send several players from Sept. 23-25.
1. Michael Blevins lost 6-0, 2-1 def.
2. Nikola Todorovic lost 6-3, 6-3
3. Aaron Blevins won 6-4, 6-3
4. Jack Wang lost 6-3, 6-0
5. Jon Allan lost 6-4, 6-2
6. Michael Humphrey won 6-2, 2-6 (10-7)
1. Todorovic/M. Blevins lost 8-3
2. A. Blevins/Josh Beguin lost 8-2
3. Humphrey/Allan won 8-4
WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- The Grace men's tennis team defeated Manchester College 8-1 on Saturday to earn their third victory and get back to .500.
The Spartans received one point at No. 1 singles because Michael Blevins had to forfeit due to his ankle injury.
Aaron Bleins, Jack Wang and Michael Humphrey didn't give up a set in singles play, while Parker Snowden won 6-0, 6-1. Freshman Humphrey is still undefeated in singles play this season.
In doubles play, Aaron Blevins and Jack Wang won 8-0 in the No. 2 slot. The Lancers (3-3) only gave up one set at No. 1 and No. 3 doubles.
Grace is back in action at Huntington University tomorrow at 4:30 p.m.
1. Michael Blevins lost 1-6, 1-0, def.
2. Nikola Todorovic won 6-1, 6-2
3. Aaron Blevins won 6-0, 6-0
4. Jack Wang won 6-0, 6-0
5. Michael Humphrey won 6-0, 6-0
6. Parker Snowden lost 6-0, 6-1
1. Todorovic/M. Blevins won 8-1
2. A. Blevins/Wang won 8-0
3. Humphrey/Snowden won 8-1
WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- In the absence of No. 1 singles player Michael Blevins and No. 4 singles player Jon Allan for the second straight match, Grace's depth proved to be enough to secure a 6-3 victory against conference rival Bethel College on Tuesday.
The Lancers (2-2; 2-2 MCC) swept Bethel in doubles play and earned three points in singles play.
"When your top player is out, everyone moves up a slot and has to step up," said head coach Larry Schuh. "This was very similar to our previous match against Marian. It was good to see everyone step up even without having our top player."
Nikola Todorovic took Blevins' place at No. 1 singles and earned a 7-5 and 6-4 victory, his second straight win in the No. 1 slot. Aaron Blevins won at No. 2 singles 6-3 and 6-4, and Michael Humphrey defeated his opponent at No. 5 singles 6-2 and 6-0, their second straight victory as well.
"Nikola, Aaron and Michael have done a great job of stepping up for us," Schuh continued. "The freshmen, Aaron and Michael, have embraced this challenge and have come up with some big victories for us."
The Pilots (2-2; 1-2 MCC) earned all three of their points in singles play.
Grace is back in action at home against Indiana Wesleyan University on Friday at 4 p.m.
1. Nikola Todorovic won 7-5, 6-4
2. Aaron Blevins won 6-3, 6-4
3. Jack Wang lost 5-7, 6-1, 6-2
4. Josh Beguin lost 6-7, 3-6
5. Michael Humphrey won 6-2, 6-0
6. Parker Snowden lost 2-6, 3-6
1. A. Blevins/Beguin won 9-7
2. Todorovic/Wang won 8-2
3. Humphrey/Snowden won 8-5
WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- With two of their top four players out due to injuries, it appeared the losing streak would continue for Grace’s men’s tennis team.
However, huge contributions from freshmen Aaron Blevins and Michael Humphrey gave the Lancers (1-2; 1-2 MCC) a 5-4 victory over Marian University.
Grace grabbed two points in doubles competition without the talents of Michael Blevins and Jon Allan.
Head coach Larry Schuh had to rely on two newcomers in Aaron Blevins and Humphrey to carry the Lancers. Both players took points in singles play and contributed to wins at No. 1 and No. 3 doubles. Humphrey's win at No. 5 singles was particularly tough, as he came from behind a break to win the second set.
"That was just a huge character win for our team," Schuh said. "We still aren't totally healthy, but to come out with a win is gonna do a lot of good for our team. We were confident going in even without our best lineup."
1. Nikola Todorovic won 3-6, 6-1, 6-2
2. Aaron Blevins won 7-5, 6-1
3. Jack Wang lost 0-6, 2-6
4. Josh Beguin lost 0-6, 3-6
5. Michael Humphrey won 6-2, 6-4
6. Parker Snowden lost 6-7, 6-0 (10-4)
1. A. Blevins/Beguin won 8-6
2. Todorovic/Wang lost 8-5
3. Humphrey/Snowden won 9-8 (7-4)
UPLAND, Ind. -- Grace's frustrating start to the season continued on Tuesday when they fell to Taylor University 6-3.
The Lancers (0-2; 0-2 MCC) earned two points in singles play in Aaron Blevins at No. 3 singles and Michael Humphrey at No. 6 singles. Aaron won 6-1 and 7-5, while Humphrey won 7-6 (7-2) and 6-1.
Grace's third point came at No. 1 doubles where Michael Blevins and Nikola Todorovic won 9-8 (8-6). The Trojans (2-2; 1-1 MCC) earned four points in singles play and two points in doubles play.
"This is obviously not the start that we expected," said head coach Larry Schuh. "But it's crucial that we bounce back and stay focused on the upcoming match against Marian."
Michael, after earning his second straight Blueberry Festival Title yesterday, aggravated his ankle in the match against Taylor.
Grace will try to bounce back in their home opener against Marian University at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
1. Michael Blevins lost 6-3, 6-3
2. Nikola Todorovic lost 3-6, 6-3, 10-6
3. Aaron Blevins won 6-1, 7-5
4. Jon Allan lost 6-1, 6-1
5. Jack Wang lost 6-1, 6-3
6. Michael Humphrey won 7-6 (7-2), 6-1
1. M. Blevins/Todorovic won 8-3
2. Josh Beguin/A. Blevins lost 8-6
3. Allan/Wang lost 9-8 (7-1)
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Sophomore men's tennis player Michael Blevins won the championship of the Blueberry Festival for the second year in a row, defeating former Grace No. 1 singles player Jeremy Ellis on Saturday.
Blevins continued his unbeaten streak in Blueberry Festival tournament play, beating Ellis in straight sets 6-4, 7-6 (7-5). Blevins has not lost a set in his two-year career at the Blueberry Festival.
"We are very proud of Michael for this accomplishment," said Grace head coach Larry Schuh. "This is a very competitive tournament and for Michael to win it twice is great for him personally and for our program."
As the defending champion, Blevins had a first-round bye. He then defeated Dave Carey, John Veit, and Tom Snelson in straight sets to advance to the final match.
All three players were former collegiate players. Carey was a former No. 1 at Grace, and Snelson, whom Blevins beat in the other semi-final, played for Brigham Young University, which was ranked in the top 15 of the nation during Snelson's playing career.
Blevins is also the defending Mid-Central College Conference champion for No. 1 singles.
SPRING ARBOR, Mich. – The Grace men's tennis team finished a disappointing opening day to the 2010 season with a 6-3 loss to Spring Arbor University on Tuesday.
The Lancers (0-1; 0-1 MCC) were without their top player at full strength in Michael Blevins. Still recovering from an ankle injury, Blevins managed to team up with Nikola Todorovic for an 8-3 win in doubles competition, but he played at #3 singles, where he had to forfeit in the second set.
Blevin's injury shifted the other Lancers up a slot compared to where they normally would play -- resulting in the 5-1 advantage for the Cougars (1-0; 1-0 MCC) in singles play.
"It's very disappointing because we know if we had Michael, then it's a different story," said head coach Larry Schuh. "Once we get back to full strength, then we will be really solid. Our focus is still on the conference tournament."
The Lancers also showcased the collegiate debuts of freshmen Aaron Blevins (Michael's younger brother), Jack Wang (Aaron's teammate), as well as Michael Humphrey. Humphrey was the only singles player to score a point for Grace at #6 singles.
Grace is back in action on Sept. 7 at Taylor University at 4 p.m.
1. Nikola Todorovic lost 7-6, 6-4
2. Aaron Blevins lost 3-6, 6-4, 6-4
3. Michael Blevins lost 6-3, 3-2 def.
4. Jon Allan lost 7-6, 6-4
5. Jack Wang lost 7-5, 6-0
6. Michael Humphrey won 7-5, 7-5
1. M. Blevins/Todorovic won 8-3
2. Josh Beguin/A. Blevins won 8-4
3. Wang/Allan lost 8-6
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – One season changed all the expectations for Grace College’s men’s tennis team. Before last year, the Lancers hadn’t won a game in the Mid-Central College Conference in four years.
But last year’s performance on the courts has hopes high for the Lancers. After finishing 2-10 (0-8 MCC) in 2008, Grace responded with a 6-5 (4-3 MCC) record which was good enough for fourth place in the conference last year.
The dynamic duo of Michael Blevins and Nikola Todorovic led the Lancers in their collegiate debuts. Both players advanced to the championship match of the MCC singles tournament. Blevins, who finished 11-3, won the #1 singles tournament and Todorovic (11-4) lost in three sets in the championship match at #2 singles.
Reigning MCC Coach of the Year Larry Schuh is not done yet, however. Entering his third season at the helm of the program, Schuh has continued to bring in talent with a pair of players from Vancouver, Wash., in Aaron Blevins (the younger brother of Michael) and Jack Wang. Both are already-accomplished players who have qualified for the state tournament and received all-league honors during their prep careers.
“Last year we turned the corner as a program, improving from last place to fourth, and we did it with a very young team,” Schuh said. “This year, we have added two dynamic freshmen who will easily make us twice as good as last year.”
After losing only one senior in Adam Bedwell, the Lancers will have two upperclassmen (senior Parker Snowden and junior Jonathan Allan) to lead them. Schuh had glowing remarks for Allan after “improving drastically” over the summer.
“Last year gives us tremendous conference for this year. Our guys know that we’ll be even better this year, which makes them a formidable opponent every match,” Schuh continued.
That type of confidence has Lancer fans thinking about an MCC title and the ensuing NAIA National Tournament appearance – something Grace has not accomplished in over a decade.
“We have our sites realistically set on winning conference since our lineup, up and down, will be solid,” Schuh said. “Our team mindset will be the foundation on which we can build a championship year.”
The Lancers open the season on the road against Spring Arbor University on August 31.
WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Michael Blevins, Nikola Todorovic and Jessica Stolle were named to the Mid-Central College All-Conference Team after the conclusion of the tennis season last weekend. Men's tennis head coach Larry Schuh was also awarded MCC Coach of the Year.
Stolle, a junior, earned all-conference honors for the third straight year. She won the #1 singles title her freshman year, and lost in the second round her next two years. Stolle has compiled a career record of 36-6 over her first three years. This year, she finished 11-4 overall and 5-3 in the conference.
Blevins won the #1 singles title as the number four seed in the MCC tournament upsetting two opponents that beat him during the regular season. The freshman finished 11-3 overall and 4-3 in MCC play.
Todorovic advanced to the #2 singles championship match in the MCC tournament but fell in three sets to the number one seed. Todorovic, also a freshman, finished 11-4 overall and 5-2 in the conference.
This year, the men's tennis team has excelled under Schuh. The Lancers rebounded from a 2-10 (0-8 MCC) record last year to a 6-5 (4-3 MCC) record this year; and after finishing last in the conference, Schuh led the men to a fourth place regular season finish and a fifth place finish in the conference tournament.
Schuh has brought a change of culture to men's tennis at Grace. The Lancers earned their first MCC win in four years when they defeated Bethel College on Sept. 3, and they also won at least five matches for the first time in six years.
Schuh brought in freshmen Blevins and Todorovic, who have been a dominant force at #1 and #2 singles for the Lancers.
MARION, Ind. – Michael Blevins, as a freshman, claimed his spot as the best men's tennis player in the Mid-Central College Conference on Saturday.
Blevins defeated Indiana Wesleyan's Matt Pedersen in the #1 singles MCC tournament championship match in two sets, 7-6 (6), 6-4. During the regular season, Pedersen defeated Blevins in three sets in Blevins' first career MCC match.
"I was kind of surprised," Blevins said. "After my rough start in the first set, I thought I was going to lose. I was so nervous at the beginning, but after I got settled in, it was pretty exciting."
Down 5-2 in the first set, Blevins rebounded with three straight wins to even the score at five. In the tiebreak, he won 8-6. With that momentum, Blevins took the second set to grab the title.
"Some of the shots he pulled off were just incredible," said Blevins' teammate Josh Beguin. "Sometimes, he just hit the ball down the line, and I was like, 'Did he seriously just do that?' It was really fun to watch."
In the semifinal match, Blevins upset Taylor's top-ranked Felipe Bedon, who was the defending #1 singles champion. Bedon defeated Blevins twice during the regular season -- once in their conference match and once in the ITA Tournament three weeks ago.
"This week was the best tennis I've played. The Taylor guy beat me twice during the regular season," Blevins said. "It's awesome to see the program starting to turn around."
MUNCIE, Ind. – Grace's dynamic freshmen duo, Michael Blevins and Nikola Todorovic, aren't quite ready to close the book on their first year campaigns.
Blevins upset Felipe Bedon from Taylor University in the second round of the MCC Tournament on Friday to advance to the #1 singles championship match on Saturday. Bedon, a junior whose last loss came as a freshman, was the defending champion at #1 singles and was ranked number one in the field.
At #2 singles, Todorovic fought through two tough matches to earn a spot in the championship, as well. Todorovic, ranked second, pulled off a pair of three-set victories in the first two rounds, including a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win over Marian University's Andrew Voss. Four days ago in the last regular season match of the year, Voss swept Todorovic 6-2, 6-2.
The fourth-ranked Blevins, now 10-3 on the year, will play Indiana Wesleyan's Matt Pedersen at 9 a.m. Saturday. Blevins and Pedersen faced off in Blevins's first career MCC match earlier this year, with Pedersen winning in three sets, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.
Todorovic, also 10-3 on the year, faces the number one-ranked player at #2 singles, David Darling from Spring Arbor University. Darling won their regular season match in two sets.