Men’s tennis exits early in MAC Championships

By Mike Romor

NIU men’s tennis suffered a loss in the semifinals of the MAC Championships to Western Michigan to end its regular season.

The 4-3 loss came in crushing fashion for the Huskies, who finished the season 21-7.

After initially losing the doubles point, NIU stormed back to win three of four singles matches. Having a 3-2 lead and needing only one more victory to advance to the championship match, NIU dropped three-set matches at first and sixth singles.

“Dor Amir was in a tough match at first singles that could have gone either way,” said NIU coach Patrick Fisher. “Dor had a match point, but couldn’t get it. It was a great match but it didn’t turn out good for us, but the match at sixth singles was the real killer that sealed the deal for us.”

NIU’s Maximilian Phillips had a triple-break point opportunity while up 3-1 in the third set of his match at sixth singles, but ultimately dropped the game before dropping the match, 6-3, 6-7, 6-3.

Western Michigan went on to win the entire tournament, beating Buffalo in the championship match, 4-0.

Western Michigan’s Nadin Indre, who beat Amir at first singles, was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player and named to the All-Tournament team with teammate Zeyad Montasser.

Maksym Bartiuk won singles match and was leading 6-3 in his doubles match before the Broncos won the other two doubles matches, which earned him a spot on the All-Tournament team as well.

“We built this program around him,” Fisher said. “He was my first recruit and he’s been a winner since he’s gotten here. I think a larger part of our success is because of him not just from the matches he’s won, but because of his leadership. He’s been a great captain and a great leader and I don’t see that changing heading into next year.”

With a doubtful chance of receiving an at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament, the Huskies have a lot to work on this offseason before getting another chance at the MAC Championship.