Huskies begin conference play


Senior Axel Lagerlof serves the ball in a match during men’s tennis’ 2012 season. Lagerlof and redshirt junior Dor Amir will be NIU’s No. 1 doubles team when it opens MAC play vs. Western Michigan Friday in Kalamazoo, Mich.

By Darwin Minnis

Men’s tennis is ready to play its first conference matchup of the season.

On Friday, the Huskies (13-5) will travel to Kalamazoo, Mich., to take on the Western Michigan Broncos (10-8). Both teams are heading into the game riding a two-game winning streak.

This game is a rematch of last year’s MAC Tournament championship game, where the Broncos edged out the Huskies with a 4-3 win to claim the MAC title. Head coach Patrick Fisher said the team’s experience will put it over the edge this season.

“We [have] three seniors on the team,” Fisher said. “We [have] some guys that are battle tested. They’ve been to the finals. They’re hardened warriors. They’ve been through a lot of battles. They’ve won a lot and suffered some hard defeats, but I think through all that our leadership is going to push us over the top.”

In singles, the Broncos will play Nadin Indre in the No. 1. Indre is 13-4 in that position on the season. He is bringing in his own three-match win streak and is 7-3 over the last 10.

For doubles, Axel Lagerlof and Dor Amir will take on Indre and Stephen Payne in the No. 1. Indre and Payne, who are 8-8 in doubles on the season, will have their hands full against the 14-2 team of Lagerlof and Amir.

The Huskies have yet to win a game on the road in a non-neutral site this season, going 0-4.

Western Michigan has been known as a powerhouse in the MAC in recent years, winning eight of the last 10 conference championships. It also holds the record for the most MAC tournament championships with 23. The Broncos have beaten NIU in the MAC tournament each of the previous two seasons.