Netmen begin home season with three matches

By Jeff Kirik

Already 26 dual meets into its season, the NIU men’s tennis team is set to play where it has not played all year—home.

The Huskies will play three teams this weekend at the Gullickson Tennis Courts by Anderson Hall. NIU, 16-10, will open Saturday at 9 a.m. against Illinois-Chicago. At 3 p.m. they will face Austin Peay, whose basketball team gained fame by beating Illinois in the first round of the NCAA cage tournament. The Huskies will close out the weekend with a 10 a.m. Sunday match with Wisconsin-Stout.

“We hope to win all our matches but our hopes spring a little higher in this match,” NIU Coach Carl Neufeld said.

Neufeld said the lower part of his lineup would have to play well if his team is going to excel this weekend.

“I think the key to our winning is going to be the middle and bottom of our lineup. If we do well there we have a good shot to play up to our potential,” he said.

The top of Neufeld’s lineup has been his team’s early season strength. In his nos. 1 and 2 singles players, Steve Wiere and Emil Bijleveld, the Huskies have two consistent winners.

Both players won this last weekend as NIU beat Wisconsin for the second time this season. Wiere is now 18-7 in the top slot with a 24-9 overall record.

“We played very well in the win over Wisconsin,” Neufeld said. “It was a very big win. I think we have some momentum right now. I hope it continues this weekend.”