Men’s, women’s tennis teams see similar outcomes

By Mike Romor

NIU men’s and women’s tennis teams had similar outcomes over the weekend, as both squads lost their two matches.

Men’s tennis was downed on the road by MAC frontrunners Toledo (23-8 overall, 4-0 MAC) on Saturday before losing a 4-3 battle against a tough Cleveland State (14-7, 7-0 Horizon) squad on Sunday.

The Huskies (11-14, 1-3) bounced back from a sluggish performance against the Rockets and won the doubles point against Cleveland State, but in the end, lack of depth doomed NIU.

At first singles, sophomore Maksym Bartiuk came back from a tough first set to win a three-setter 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. The win sends Bartiuk’s singles record to 16-9.

Freshman Axel Lagerlof continued his dominance in his first collegiate season by cruising to a victory at second singles 6-4, 6-2. Lagerlof has had the best singles record on the team for the entire season, which is now at 17-7.

Head coach Patrick Fisher was disappointed that his team could not seal the win against Cleveland State and is well aware of the struggles caused by lack of depth.

“We’ve got to hope that we win at one and two doubles and one through three singles,” Fisher said. “We just haven’t had the type of consistency at the bottom of the lineup that we’ve had at the top.”

In NIU women’s action, the Huskies (2-14, 0-5) lost both of their matches over the weekend 7-0, first at Buffalo (5-11, 1-5) on Friday and then at Akron (16-3, 6-0) on Saturday.

NIU has now lost eight straight matches, and has been outscored 51-5 during the span. The Huskies last won a match on March 5.

Although the weekend did not go as planned for the women’s team, head coach Ryun Ferrell was pleased with his team’s palpable energy.

“When we go out there, it looks like it’s our first match attitude-wise,” Ferrell said. “We’re so enthusiastic, we’re fired up, we’re going after them. The effort is there.”

With the season coming to a close, Ferrell received news that slightly improves the team’s lackluster 2011 showing. Senior Katie Friedlund was recently cleared to hit two-handed backhands. Despite not being 100 percent recovered from her wrist injury, the clearing shows that the senior will be performing at a much more competitive level before her career comes to a close.

NIU women’s tennis has two remaining matches and play next on April 22 at home at 1 p.m. against Western Michigan. Men’s tennis will be at Buffalo on April 24 to conclude its regular season.