NIU netters swing past Mid-Continent foes at Invitational

By Jeff Steffen

The NIU men’s tennis team showed once again that it is the team to beat in the Mid-Continent Conference by dominating the Mid-Continent Fall Invitational last weekend.

This year’s tournament took place at Valparaiso University, and the NIU players were rude to their hosts by claiming champions in three of the six singles flights and two of the three doubles matches.

“We did about the same in the tournament last year,” NIU coach Chuck Merzbacher said. “The purpose of the tournament is for the coaches to see the different individuals on the teams. There are no team scores kept.”

The NIU singles winners were Marty Engel, Dustin Dobrin, and Matt Green. Both Engel and Green are freshmen.

“Marty Engel has definitely made the other coaches aware of him,” Merzbacher said. “He won the No. 1 singles flight as a freshman.”

“Considering our youth, the first tournament of the season, I couldn’t ask for more. I’m also quite pleased with our doubles performance, winning two out of three titles with all new combinations,” Merzbacher said.

The No. 1 flight of doubles was won by freshman Engel and Green, and they never had the experience of playing together, Merzbacher said.

The other doubles winner came in the No. 3 flight with Dobrin and freshman Corey Westphal.

“It’s hard to single any one player or players out when everyone put forth such a great effort,” Merzbacher said.

“This tournament was a good start, but everything gets tougher now,” the third-year coach continued.

Upcoming matches for the tennis squad include the Bowling Green State University Fall Tournament, which will field some of the better teams in the Midwest.

The Huskies are scheduled to host an Alumni match on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 11 a.m. on the newly resurfaced West Campus Courts, pending completion.