Men’s tennis beaten by unexpected move at Carbondale


While the Midwest was getting pelted by storms, the NIU men’s tennis team was on the road, getting pelted with another loss away from DeKalb.

The rain fell hard in Carbondale and forced the Huskies (4-7) indoors, where they fell in a 5-2 decision to Southern Illinois Saturday.

The move inside may have thrown off the Huskies’ rhythm as they had been preparing to play outdoors, but to NIU head coach Pawel Gajdzik, that’s no excuse for dropping the Huskies’ fourth-straight match.

“We’ve been [preparing to] play outside and have been making the switch for the past few days,” Gajdzik said. “It was a surprise to us, but we need to be flexible [depending on the weather], especially right now at this time of year.”

Flexibility may be a continuing cause of the Huskies’ struggles, as the team has dealt with injuries for most of the spring.

One player that has not been struggling has been freshman Jurica Grubisic. The Croatian native made his 11th start at the No. 1 position and recorded his team-high seventh victory. Grubisic shares the team-high with junior Javier Bernabe.

Over the course of their four-match losing streak, the Huskies have yet to take the doubles point. Sophomore Matt Hansen and senior Jimmy Chu took the first doubles match Saturday, but SIU came storming back to take the final two doubles matches and the point.

“After Spring Break, we’re getting a little bit more in the conditioning mood to get ready for the conference,” Gajdzik said. “We’re losing, but the guys are getting close. If you look at the results, we played three-set matches against Illinois State, then the next day we’re playing three-set matches also.”

Along with trouble closing out matches, the Huskies have been banged up here and there, dealing with injuries throughout the Spring.

“We’re definitely working closely with our medicine staff, and [Assistant Athletic Trainer] Natalie [Meckstroth] is doing an unbelievable job of putting us together,” Gajdzik said. “Hopefully by the time conference starts, we have a full lineup.”

NIU starts its conference schedule Thursday as it takes on the Chicago State Cougars.