Huskies send seniors out on winning note NIU extends win streaks to 11 & 18

By Marc Wesner

The NIU men’s tennis team kept its home and consecutive win streaks alive Wednesday when DePaul limped out of DeKalb to the tune of a 5-2 thumping.

The Huskies breezed through this one, having it locked before the final three singles matches were in the books.

The doubles teams started quickly, sweeping all three matches from the Blue Demons.

The No. 1 team of Steve Senter and David Settelmyer overmatched the team of Andy Emerson and Henry Erlich, 8-4. The No. 2 team of Dustin Dobrin and Corey Westphal ran up an 8-2 victory over Blong Ly and Raul Esquerra, while the No. 3 tandem of Peter Berka and Andy Schoeberlein was too much for Joe Davoli and Billy Nealy.

Unfortunately, the match signifies the last home match of the year for the squad for two reasons. The 58-2 home slate the team holds over their opponents spanning the last seven seasons cannot be improved upon again this season, and, for three Huskies, it signals the last home match of their collegiate careers. Dustin Dobrin, Steve Senter, and Ralph Platz all got their last looks at the West Campus Courts. Too bad it couldn’t have been a bit happier for them on an individual basis.

The only matches dropped by the Huskies were losses served up to the two seniors in the lineup—Dobrin and Senter. Platz did not start in this match.

Dobrin lost in a classic heartbreaker. Up 5-1 in the first set, his opponent, Blong Ly, came back for a 7-6 tie-breaker win and went on to take the next set 6-4 despite the competitive and aggressive performance put up by Dobrin.

Senter’s matchup with the Blue Demons’ Andy Emerson was as intense as the Dobrin-Ly show. Yet he, too, never seemed to get the advantage as Emerson was victorious, 6-4, 6-3.

“We’re happy about the win,” explained head coach Tim Madden. “However, this was our last home match, and we have three seniors on the team who’ll be leaving. Unfortunately, the two who were in the lineup lost their singles matches. It’s tough because they were both moved up farther in the lineup then they’ve been playing, but they are both still capable of winning (at that level). I think it was one of those things were they put a lot of pressure on themselves.”

Singles winners for the Huskies were No. 3 Andy Caldwell over Erlich, 6-4, 6-4, No. 4 Berka over Esquerra, 6-4, 6-2, No. 5 Westphal over Nealy, 6-1, 6-1, and No. 6 Schoeberlein over Bell, 6-0, 7-5.

Usual No. 1 seed Marty Engel didn’t play in the meeting because of an NCAA ruling which held him and Dobrin out for two matches this spring. The pair racked up two extra matches by participating in the Inter-Collegiate Tennis Coaches Association Tournament last fall.

As for the “let down” by his star seniors, Madden pointed to the future.

“We’ve got the conference tournament coming up, and I told them they could make up for it by doing some winning there.”

The two day Mid-Continent Conference Tournament will be held at Valparaiso University on May 1.