Madden impressed with weekend effort


NIU’s men’s tennis coach Tim Madden was looking for improvement going into South Bend, Indiana this past weekend.

Madden saw more than improvement; he was also very impressed by the Huskies’ showing at the ITA/Rolex Region IV Midwest Championships.

Although the Huskies were eliminated in the second day of the four-day qualifier for the national championship, Madden was nonetheless pleased.

“This tourney marked a really positive step forward for us,” said Madden. “We controlled the majority of the points and played with confidence. At times, we put all phases together.”

The Huskies’ singles trio of Marty Engel, Sunu Thomas, and Andy Caldwell held out nicely as they combined for three wins and three losses in the tourney.

Engel set the stage for the Huskies with a come-from-behind victory over Indiana University’s Bo Gibbs, 6-7, 6-3, 6-2. He then lost in the second round to Northwestern University standout Wyeth Goodenough in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2.

Thomas, who was granted a first round bye, handily defeated Steve Tallakson of Ball State University 6-2, 6-3 before being upended by Notre Dame’s No. 1 singles player Andy Zurcher in a 6-4, 7-5 dogfight.

Caldwell showed some of the Huskie spirit in battling back to defeat Denny English of Ball State 6-2, 4-6, 7-6. He was then knocked out of competition by Todd Wilson of Notre Dame 7-6, 6-1. Madden was very happy with the singles players’ efforts.

“We found some leadership in these three guys,” said Madden. “They may not have gotten all wins, but they played with intensity and the effort was really there. We keep that up and there’s no doubt in my mind we’ll be successful.”

In doubles competition, Engel and Caldwell combined to take a three-set victory from Michigan State’s Mashishika Washington and Chris Watson 6-4, 1-6, 6-3. In their second round matchup, John Baxter and David Zinn of Miami of Ohio sent Engel and C