One streak is great, but three?

By Brian Wiencek

At least when the NIU men’s tennis team was losing, the matches were close. Now, the opposition is lucky to even score a single point.

The Huskies proved this to be true on Saturday when they swept the Valparaiso Crusaders and the Eastern Illinois Panthers, 6-1 and 6-0, respectively, this Saturday on the West Campus Courts.

In the first match, as is customary with most of the Huskie matches, NIU took the 1-0 lead on the doubles matches, taking two of the three matches.

However, the point was not necessary as the NIU took five of the six singles matches to earn their 11th victory of the season.

No. 2 Dustin Dobrin (6-0, 6-2), No. 4 Steve Senter (6-2, 7-5), No. 5 Andy Caldwell (6-1, 6-0), and No. 6 Corey Westphal (6-2, 6-2) all took victories in straight sets. No. 1 Marty Engel had some problems in the first set, but came back to win the next two from VU’s Dave Castleman to take the match, 3-6, 6-0, 6-4.

In the second match, EIU just could not contend with the Huskies as NIU did not allow a single set to be lost in the 12 that were played. Dobrin demolished EIU’s Pat Mellin 6-0, 6-0, while the other five singles competitors had just as much success. Engel defeated the Panthers’ George Macey, 6-3, 6-4. David Settelmeyer took over Ryan Ivers, 6-2, 6-0, and Peter Burka easily handled Brad Rozborif, 6-0, 6-3.

While some old familiar faces in the top four spots were busy shredding their opponents, some new faces popped into the starting lineup. Andy Schoeberlein and Ralph Platz received some playing time and made good use of it as they finished off their opponents in straight sets. Platz, in the No. 6 slot, won all but one game from EIU’s Jeff Lindstrom in a 6-0, 6-1 triumph.

“Credit has to go to some of the guys in the lower part of the line-up,” said NIU head coach Tim Madden. “They really came through with some good tennis. Even guys who normally don’t get that many opportunities. Andy Schoeberlein and Ralph Platz are two good examples.”

The pressure continues to mount as NIU extended their overall winning streak (seven), home winning streak (17), and Mid-Con winning streak (20) with the two victories on Saturday.

“It’s always nice to win and even nicer to be on a winning streak,” said Madden. “Even better is being on several different types of winning streaks. We’re glad to get above .500 and keep all our streaks intact.”

The Huskies upped their overall ledger to 12-11 and remain perfect in the Mid-Con at 5-0. They will close out their three-match homestand this Wednesday when they take on the Great Midwest Conference’s Blue Demons of DePaul University on the West Campus Courts at 3 p.m.