Tennis squad starts fall schedule in Valparaiso

By Todd McMahon

Now that fall has arrived, the NIU men’s tennis team can’t wait to go out and repeat the results from a year ago.

Huskie head coach Chuck Merzbacher will take his team to Valparaiso, Ind., this weekend to see if 1991-92 will be as promising as 1990-91.

The Mid-Continent Conference Fall Classic begins Saturday and concludes Sunday with all member schools competing. What makes the tournament unique is that the results don’t count toward team records, but it has a bearing for the remainder of the season on the individuals competing.

NIU hopes to repeat last year’s performance at the tournament when it took nine of 12 flights. The Huskies then carried that over to the spring when they captured their first-ever Mid-Continent championship.

This year the tournament will consist of nine flights (six singles and three doubles), and leading the charge for NIU will be a rookie.

Marty Engel has been tabbed for the number one position by Merzbacher. The freshman comes off a phenomenal high school career at Glenbard West (Glen Ellyn, Ill.). Engel is one of three NIU freshmen who will be playing in the tournament.

The experience will be provided by juniors Dustin Dobrin, Steve Senter and Ralph Platz. Dobrin will play at number two, Senter at three and Platz at the five spot.

Rounding out the singles field will be freshman Matt Green at number four and sophomore Andy Schoberlein at number six.

The three doubles flights will consist of Engel and Green at number one, Senter and Schoberlein at number two and Dobrin and freshman Corey Westphal at the third position.

Although these will be the first competitive matches of the year, the Huskies have been grinding it out with one another for the past couple weeks.

“It’ll be a great first test,” Merzbacher said. “I’m really anxious to see our new players and new doubles combinations in action this weekend.

“We may have the potential considering how hard we’ve been working, but realistically, as young as we are, we’ll have to see what happens,” Merzbacher continued.