Big Ten netters top NIU

Losses to both Wisconsin and Minnesota dampened the spirits of the NIU men’s tennis team over the weekend and dropped the Huskies’ record to 15-8 on the season.

NIU’s Steve Wiere seemed to be the only bright spot for the Huskies in the 7-2 loss to Wisconsin and the 5-2 downing by Minnesota.

Wiere bumped off his Badger opponent Marc Shwartz in a 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 No. 1 singles contest. He then paired up with Dan Bowers to knock of Wisconsin 6-2, 6-3 at No. 1 doubles. Wiere then handed Minnesota’s Rafer Leach a 6-2, 6-3 No. 1 singles beating.

“Truthfully, we played poorly versus Wisconsin,” NIU coach Carl Neufeld said. “We were clearly outplayed except in No. 1 singles and doubles. Steve played very, very well. It came down to a matter of confidence. We definitely had moments of weakness in other matches.

“Against Minnesota, I thought we were right in the match despite the final score. Steve and Erik (Andersch) played very well and if we could’ve won another singles match, I felt we were favorites at No.1 doubles and it would’ve come down to No.2 doubles and possibly a 5-4 win for us.

Accepting the two losses and moving on, the Huskies now have their eyes set on next Sunday’s match with Northwestern.

“I think that we can beat them,” Neufeld said. “We’ll defintitely have to show more than we’ve shown this past weekend. Some of our guys are playing as if they have a lead to protect. Hopefully, they realize the lead is mythical or no longer exists. There’s no doubt that we have the talent to beat Northwestern.”