Mid-Con Fall Classic on tap

By Alex Gary

Some of NIU’s men’s tennis lesser-lights get a chance to shine this Friday and Saturday at the Mid-Continent Conference Individual Fall Classic at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.

“The fall season is really a time to gain experience,” NIU coach Chuck Merzbacher said. “(This tournament) will get some others that experience.”

Merzbacher said the team will be competing without its top three players—Marty Engel, Dustin Dobrin and Andy Caldwell, hoping to get some other players competition that will help the team down the road.

Peter Berka, David Settlemeyer and Corey Westphal move into the top three spots for the weekend, Merzbacher said. Matt Green, Dave Shubert and Steve Senter move into the fourth, fifth and sixth spots, respectively, in singles.

Two players Merzbacher said he will be watching closely are David Edelman and Westphal.

“We just put those two players together in practice this week, and they have just been playing great,” Merzbacher said.

Despite the fact NIU will not be taking its best squad to Eastern Illinois, Merzbacher said he is still very confident.

“We still expect to win every flight,” he said. “We are still the cream of the crop in the Mid-Con.”

Merzbacher said the main challenges NIU will face will come from Western Illinois University and the University of Illinois-Chicago.

“UIC has a good team this year,” he said. “(UIC’s) recruiting class was really outstanding this year.”