Weekend warriors take two at home


Ah, home sweet home.

For most of NIU’s athletic teams, home is where the heart is—or at least the victories.

The men’s basketball team went 12-2, the women’s basketball team went a record 16-0, and the men’s tennis team holds a perfect 4-0 ledger amidst the cornfields of DeKalb.

NIU swept back-to-back meets on Friday and Saturday against Toledo and Bowling Green State at the Campus Recreation Center.

NIU opened up the weekend with a 6-1 thrashing of the Rockets. The doubles’ combinations of Steve Senter-David Settelmyer and Marty Engel-Andy Caldwell came away with victories, 8-5 and 8-4, respectively, to give NIU a 1-0 lead, from which they never looked back. No. 1 Engel (6-0, 6-4), No. 2 Dustin Dobrin (6-4, 6-0), No. 3 Settelmyer (6-0, 6-2), No. 5 Caldwell (6-1, 6-2), and No. 6 Corey Westphal (7-5, 6-2) all took victories in straight sets.

From one victory to another they went as Bowling Green State was the next victim, 4-3.

In a much closer meet that began the same, the Huskies opened up with a 1-0 lead after taking two of the three doubles matches.

“Doubles has consistently done the job, and today it was a big part. Our No. 2 doubles team (sophomores Engel and Caldwell) always gets up.”

Engel and Dobrin had some problems as they fell in straight sets, but Senter and Settelmyer stepped up to keep the Huskies in it.

After a back and forth battle between the top five seeds, the two squads were locked up in a 3-3 tie, leaving room for the youngster to do what he seems to do best—win in the clutch. However, it was not easy as the freshman, Peter Burka, went three sets before finally taking the victory, 6-2, 5-7, 7-5.

“Peter had the last match, and the crowd stayed and cheered him on to the end,” said NIU head coach Tim Madden. “I give the crowd a lot of credit. They really gave him a boost when he was down a break in the third set. The freshmen really pulled us through.”

However, the two-game winning streak ended in about the same time that it took to create it, when the Huskies were shutout in royal fashion by Colorado, 7-0.

The Buffaloes took the early lead on two doubles’ victories. If that wasn’t enough bad news, Colorado came right back to take all six singles’ matches, five of which came off of straight sets.

Engel took UC’s Mark LeClair three sets before falling, 3-6, 7-5, 6-2.

“Marty got the first set of his match and he was really competing well,” said Madden.

Despite the ninth Huskie loss of the season, Madden feels that the meet helped his club.

“Colorado is a Top 25 team and they were definitely ready to play. Despite the loss, it’s good to play a national-caliber opponent like this for the experience.”

NIU will remain on the road until March 28 when they open the Mid-Continent Conference season against the Fighting Phoenix of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Next Friday, the Huskies travel to Edwardsville, IL, to take on Southern Illinois University for a 3 p.m. nonconference meet.