Men’s tennis set for a Friday double-header

By Patrick Smith

Men’s tennis (3-2) is coming off a 5-2 win over Eastern Illinois University last Saturday and is looking to defeat Southern Illinois University and Chicago State University in a double-header this weekend.

The Salukis defeated the Huskies last season in Carbondale 4-3 and NIU won the previous matchup 6-1. NIU head coach Patrick Fisher said he knows that SIU has probably improved even more since the last time the teams met and the Huskies will be in for a tough matchup.

“Well they’ve been pretty good,” Fisher said. “They’re coming off a win against Mercer, who beat Clemson so that’s definitely says something about their program. They beat us last year 4-3 and I think they’re better this season.”

Fisher also said the Huskies are still trying to get in the swing of things as the team has battled injuries all season. They have dealt with injuries to sophomore Louis-Philippe Hamel, senior Simon Formont, sophomore Tom Hjertonsson and junior Eric Marbach.

“Well, at this point we’re trying to figure out who’s going to be available to play against [SIU],” Fisher said. “We have to get guys healthy, so as far as preparation, it’s tough to prepare when you’re [not] healthy.

It’s going to be tough with all these injuries to key players. It gives guys on our team [a chance] to step up and play bigger roles which is a great learning experience.”

The Huskies will play Chicago State following their game against the Salukis. NIU didn’t play Chicago State last year, so they will be facing off against an unfamiliar opponent. Fisher said that NIU can’t underestimate Chicago State despite the team being winless.

“We have to prepare for Chicago State the same way we expect to prepare for SIU,” Fisher said. “Obviously we are playing a lot of tennis in a short amount of time so it’s going to be sort of a wait and see to determine whose playing against Chicago State. Even though they’re 0-4 they still are better than they were last season. It’s another in-state team for us so that’s always tough and we know how intense those games are, but we’re looking forward to a great week of tennis.”

Matches are set to begin at 2 p.m. Friday in Rockford. The Huskies will move to 5-2 with wins in both games.