NIU men’s tennis: Huskies can’t clear final hurdle — again

By Patrick Smith

Men’s tennis once again lost in the MAC tournament after winning the regular season championship three times in four years.

The Huskies (18-6, 4-1 MAC) were the No. 1 seed in the tournament. They hosted the Buffalo Bulls on April 24 at the West Tennis Courts, where they were upset by the fourth-seeded Bulls by the score of 4-2.

Even though head coach Patrick Fisher is proud of his team, he said he believes this season shouldn’t be viewed as an overachievement.

“We have been doing this for the last four seasons,” Fisher said. “It’s not an overachievement it’s an expectation.

“People thought the same thing with NIU football when Jordan Lynch left, but they came back this season and won the MAC conference championship once again. Players come and go, but our program does our best to replace them. The expectation is to compete and play for championships.”

However, the Huskies did overachieve this year as they were selected to finish fifth out of six teams this season.

Additionally, the Huskies were without three of their top four players from last season. They lost Axel Lagerlof, Dor Amir and Jovan Zeljkovic, who all were seniors during the 2013-14 season. Lagerlof (20-11), Amir (19-11) and Zeljkovic (20-8) were big contributors on a team that went 18-6 and 4-0 in the MAC and won the regular season title. Fisher said replacing those seniors with freshmen wasn’t an easy task.

“Some may say we overachieved because we had so many freshman, but we expect to do well every year,” Fisher said. “Some would think having so many freshmen in the lineup will make you not as good, but we always expect to win from every team we put out each season.”