Men’s tennis earns co-MAC championship honors


Northern Star File Photo – Dor Amir, April 15, 2012

By Mike Romor

NIU men’s tennis grabbed a share of the MAC regular season championship after a series of fortunate events over the weekend.

Both NIU and Buffalo had one conference match remaining, with NIU needing a win and a Buffalo loss in order to tie for first.

With only one MAC matchup left, NIU men’s tennis was nearing a second place regular season finish in the conference.

After suffering its lone conference loss to Buffalo April 15, NIU coach Patrick Fisher felt his team had lost its opportunity to clinch the conference title.

“Buffalo has one match left against Ball State and Buffalo really shouldn’t have any problems with that one,” Fisher said after NIU’s loss to Buffalo. “We just have to hope for the best seed we can get and move forward from here.”

NIU easily handled its last conference foe, beating Chicago State 7-0. Having to wait until the next day to see the Buffalo-Ball State results, NIU focused solely on its season-concluding match against UIC.

While the Huskies were busy extinguishing the Flames en route to a 5-0 win, Ball State was playing some of its best tennis of the season against Buffalo.

After Buffalo tied the contest at 3-3 after winning at the top three singles spots, Ball State’s Alexandre Brym responded by pulling out a three-set victory at sixth singles to clinch the win, forcing Buffalo to share the MAC regular season championship with the Huskies.

The regular season title is the first in NIU history as members of the MAC. The program has claimed six conference championships before this, including three in both the Mid-Continent Conference and Midwestern Collegiate Conference.

The title comes one season removed from a 1-4 conference record. This season, NIU outscored MAC opponents 25-10 while ending the regular season with a 21-7 overall record. It was NIU’s first 20-win season since 1989.

“We still have a ways to go,” Fisher said. “We still have a goal that we want to reach in winning the tournament, so I guess we’ll have to wait until the end to see how everything plays out.”