Big Ten sweeps men’s Huskie tennis


The Big Ten Conference.

Life would be easier for the NIU men’s tennis team if it did not exist.

In their only fall match, the Huskies fell to the Wildcats of Northwestern, and, this weekend not much was different, except for the opponents, as NIU fell to the Purdue Boilermakers 5-2 and the University of Illinois 4-3.

At West Lafayette, Ind., things looked optimistic as the Huskies opened up with a 1-0 lead. The doubles teams of David Settelmyer-Steve Senter and Dustin Dobrin-Corey Westphal took victories over the Boilermakers. However, from there, Purdue took over winning five of the next six from NIU. No. 3 singles player Settelmyer was the lone victor defeating Purdue’s Dan Poole 6-1, 4-6, 6-4. No. 1 singles player Marty Engel and No. 6 singles player Westphal took their opponents to three sets, but could not pull out the victories.

“We’ve got a lot of little things happening that are costing us matches,” said NIU head coach Tim Madden. “Ninety percent of the game can be mental toughness. When we don’t have it, the matches get away from us. We’ve got to learn to close matches, being close, that’s no longer satisfying.”

On Saturday, the Huskies played much better, but still could not grab victory as they fell to the Fighting Illini. The doubles tandem of Engel-Andy Caldwell came away with the only victory among the three doubles matches.

In singles action, Engel fell in straight sets, but No. 2 singles player Dustin Dobrin picked up with a 6-1, 6-7, 6-3 victory over Illinois’ Rob Cordes. Settelmyer had to go to a tie-breaker in the first set, but came from behind to win the match. No. 6 singles player Peter Berka grabbed a win in straight sets 7-5, 6-2.

“We played with more intensity and focus, but we still need to become even more aggressive and control the match,” said Madden. “Instead of letting others determine the outcome, we’ve got to step up and change our approach to matches. That’s what we’ll be working on.”

Despite the two losses, Settelmyer created an impressive weekend sweep that has caught the eye of Madden.

“David came to play,” said Madden. “He’s been down and has had a few losses, but he made up his mind to really go for the win. He stepped up twice this weekend and did just that.”

The Huskies fell to 2-8 on the season and will travel to Columbus, Ohio, next weekend to take on the Buckeyes of Ohio State University for a 6:00 p.m. start.