Tennis squad falls, 5-2

By John Dietz

Defending Mid-Continent Conference tennis champions, NIU, dropped a 5-2 decision to the University of Cincinnati at the Recreation Center Sunday.

The Huskies came out swinging with their only two victories in the first three matches. In a true crowd-pleaser, freshman Marty Engel—at the No. 1 spot—led the charge with a 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Brett DeCurtins.

Coach Chuck Merzbacher was pleased with Engel’s performance.

“DeCurtins has been ranked No. 1 for two years, so Marty knew that he would have his hands full. He did a great job in this match.”

The toughest loss for the Huskies was a gruelling match between NIU’s Ralph Platz and John Jameson. Platz’s serve was lethal in his first two service games. Jameson only returned one of his first ten serves and it looked as if Platz would end this match quickly.

But out of nowhere, Jameson exploded for a first-set 7-6 tiebreaker win despite trailing 0-3. Platz responded in the second set with an identical 7-6 tiebreaker triumph. Jameson rebounded to pull out the match with a 6-4 victory in the third set.

A few questionable calls could have cost Platz the match, but Merzbacher admitted, “when you have two big servers you’re going to have close calls. It was a fair match.”

Dustin Dorbin was the other victorious Huskie with a 6-4, 6-7, 6-4 victory over Ken Grimm.

Despite this setback, Merzbacher remains optimistic for the rest of the season.

“We’re winning at (No.s) one and two, so we just need to start winning deeper in the lineup,” Merzbacher said. “The depth needs to improve and with a young team we should be okay as the season progresses. We lost three starters last year, so we just needed to get the jitters out.”