NIU tennis gains experience at IU

BLOOMINGTON, IN_ This past weekend may have been one of the absolute longest in the young life of NIU men’s tennis coach Tim Madden.

The second-year Huskie net boss watched his troops in 29 singles matches and 18 doubles contests in Friday through Sunday’s Midwest Intercollegiate Tennis Championships—a non-team scoring tourney hosted by Indiana University with individual entrants from the Midwest’s top 16 schools.

While watching hours of volleys is typical for a tennis coach, what Madden saw wasn’t always pleasing and that’s what made for such a long weekend.

“We’re still not where we want to be, that’s the unfortunate reality. I believe we’re capable of more and we can achieve more, but we didn’t really do it here,” Madden said.

“We had several goals going into this tourney. One was getting more experience—obviously we at least got that from the shear number of matches we played. Two was to gain confidence.

“While the third and final day was our best in terms of results—winning eight and losing three—we were also often times playing lesser opponents.

“That first day, we won five and lost ten, that’s not the way we should have started. Sooner or later, we’ve got to start winning on a consistent basis,” Madden said.

Topping the highlights had to be NIU singles ace Marty Engel, who took a solid third place in the No. 1 singles classification.

Engel won a 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 decision over David Ortiz of the University of Wisconsin in the opening round. He then advanced with a 4-3, retired triumph over Indiana’s Chris Angell—a win over a highly-regarded foe.

After a loss, Engel rebounded to claim third place with a 6-4, 6-2 triumph over Tom Suoboda of the University of Cincinnati.

While NIU was 13-16 in terms of singles matches played, the Huskie doubles duos netted a 8-8 split.

Topping that side of competition was a fourth place finish in the No. 4 doubles flight by Andy Schoeberlein and Chris Hallowell.

The Northern Illinois twosome reached the semifinals before losing an 8-3 pro set to Wisconsin’s Greg Miller and Mike Goldstein.

While the ultimate finish was only ninth-place, the No. 3 combo of Peter Berka and Corey Westphal bounced back from an opening round loss to win three straight capped by an upset of the University of Iowa’s Tom Derouin and Mike Marino.

Northern Illinois’ Matt Green won a hard-fought first-round three-set battle and ultimately finished seventh with a three-set triumph over Ball State University’s Paul Ripley. He also teamed Sunu Thomas to tally a seventh-place finish in No. 2 doubles play.