Men’s tennis team hopes to extend streak

By Kari Brackett

As the season winds down for the NIU men’s tennis team, Coach Carl Neufeld hopes his team can carry on its winning ways.

The Huskies will get the chance to improve their current 11-game victory streak as NIU takes on Illinois State today at 3:30 p.m. at the Gullikson Courts by Anderson Hall.

Not only is the team wanting to do well to extend its winning streak, but also because it is the last home meet of the season.

NIU is coming off a perfect weekend at home. The Huskies defeated Valparaiso on Thursday, and then swept three matches on Saturday against Marquette, Elmhurst, and Augustana.

Neufeld said he hopes his team can carry on its enthusiasm from the previous weekend, but he does not want his team to dwell on the past.

“This weekend has limited value,” Neufeld said. “ISU doesn’t care who we beat. You can’t rest on your laurels.”

Neufeld said he does not know how well Illinois has been doing lately, but he does know they are very strong near the top of the lineup, particularly at the No. 1 and No. 2 spots.

“That is also our strength,” Neufeld said. “It’s strength against strength. Anything can happen.”

Freshman Steve Wiere is in the top spot for NIU. He has a personal record of 25-9 in No. 1 singles matches and a 31-11 overall mark in singles contests.

The No. 2 player for NIU is Dan Bowers, a junior from LaGrange Park, Ill. Bowers defeated both Marquette and Elmhurst this weekend during singles competition.

Illinois and NIU have built themselves a little rivalry between each other and Neufeld said he hopes his team is not caught off-guard.

“We have beat them in the last few years,” Neufeld said. “They don’t have anything to lose. I hope we are more pumped.”

Neufeld knows all about rivalries with Illinois. Not only has he been coaching the team for seven years, but he is also a 1979 NIU graduate who played on the tennis team.

Neufeld said he would like to see a big crowd at today’s match. He admits it will be a tough match for NIU, but he said the people will have the opportunity to see great tennis.

“I want to encourage people to come out and watch,” Neufeld said. “They will get a preview of next year.”

After tonight’s contest, the Huskies have three more meets before finishing up the season. On Friday, NIU travels to take on Marquette after having beaten the Warriors 9-0 over the weekend. The Huskies will stay in Milwaukee and face Wabash College and Wisconsin-Stout on Saturday.