Tennis trio sets for prestigious tourney

By Hyun Moon

Freshmen Marty Engel and Matt Green will get a taste of top-level collegiate tennis for the first time at the Rolex Midwest Indoor Regional Tournament at Madison, Wis., starting today.

But for junior Dustin Dobrin, the only Huskie to win a match in this tournament last year, it’s another opportunity to strut his improved form.

“You probably have the top 96 singles players in the Midwest and 32 of the best doubles combinations, it doesn’t get any tougher than that,” third-year NIU coach Chuck Merzbacher said.

Engel, Merzbacher’s prized recruit, has been everything the young coach expected him to be. “This program is in a direction where we can get skilled people into this university,” Merzbacher said.

Engel, having won singles titles in two of the three fall tournaments the Huskies have entered, is confident of his abilities.

“I definitely think I can compete,” Engel said. “There’s 10 guys that I probably can’t touch, but I’m just a freshman, I don’t have anything to prove.”

Dobrin, who played No. 4 singles last year, has leapt to the No. 2 slot, showing much improvement.

“I’ve seen more improvement out of Dustin than I’ve ever seen from anyone else,” Merzbacher said. “You really can’t say how good Dustin is going to be, because Dustin can be as good as he wants to be.”

Green and Engel will also compete in the doubles competition, but Merzbacher doesn’t feel comfortable with the two freshmen going up against potentially dangerous opponents.

“Right now, these guys are just an average No. 1 doubles team,” Merzbacher said. “But if they’re running on all pistons, they can be very dangerous.”