Men’s tennis serving up home court defense

By Darwin Minnis

Men’s tennis team looks to continue its perfect 7-0 record at home this season against three opponents this weekend.

The Huskies (7-3) will take on the Butler Bulldogs (1-5) 5 p.m. Thursday in Rockford before hosting Western Illinois (1-5) 1 p.m. and Dayton (1-5) 5 p.m. in a double header on Saturday.

The Huskies will look to get revenge aginst a Butler team that beat them last season, 5-2. The Bulldogs have every player from last year’s team returning, so NIU will know what to look for. Butler’s doubles team of Pulok Bhattacharya and Brandon Woods who are 5-0 on the season will present the Huskies will another big doubles challenge.

Head coach Patrick Fisher is looking to go into the weekend with a hot start.

“Our first challenge is Butler,” Fisher said. “And I think if we get off to a good start with them, everything else will fall into place with Dayton and Western.”

On Saturday, the Huskies start their double header against Western Illinois. Western is looking to continue their momentum after getting their first win of the season on Sunday. The Huskies beat the Leathernecks last season 7-0. Western Illinois’ No. 1 singles player Christoph Haertel, who is coming off a 2-0 weekend, is matched up against NIU’s No. 1 singles Axel Lagerlof.

The Huskies will continue with the second half of their double header against Dayton. The Flyers will look to get their season on track after a disappointing 1-5 start. The Huskies beat the Flyers last season, 5-2. Dayton No. 1 doubles team Bernardo Sanson and Aidan Koross will have their hands full against NIU’s 37th ranked doubles team Dor Amir and Lagerlof, who should see their ranking improve after a win at Iowa last week.

Fisher wants to focus on bringing the right mentality into this weeks games.

“I want to bring a killer mentality.” Fisher said. “I want to be ready every time. We need to be able to bring it everyday no matter who we’re playing.”

Three Huskies in particular will look to continue their high level of play after being awarded both MAC weekly awards. The doubles team of Lagerlof and Amir were named MAC Men’s Tennis Doubles Team of the Week after impressive games against Iowa and IUPUI. Simon Formont received the MAC Men’s Tennis Singles Player of the Week, the first Huskie to win it this season, after starting off 10-0 so far.