Huskie netters nab title II

By Brian Wiencek

The way the NIU men’s tennis team played over the weekend at the Mid-Continent Conference Championships, no one could beat them, not even Mother Nature, as the Huskies took their second Mid-Con crown in as many years.

Cold and wet weather plagued the two-day tournament which forced Mid-Con officials to shuffle play between three sites. However, the host Huskies were not bothered as they breezed through Eastern Illinois, Akron and Western Illinois, respectively, to earn the Mid-Con title.

The Huskies also swept the Mid-Continent awards. Third-year coach Chuck Merzbacher won M-C Coach of the Year honors for the second straight year.

“Coach of the Year is like a team award,” Merzbacher said. “It’s just a reflection of how the team did, so I thank them for that.”

Freshman Marty Engel earned Mid-Continent Player of the Year. Engel, Steve Senter and Dustin Dobrin received All Mid-Con Conference awards.

“As far as Player of the Year,” said Merzbacher, “he (Engel) just deserves it.”

“I was happy with it, and I’m glad the way everything turned out,” Engel said. “Most importantly, instead of any of these individual awards, was that we won it as a team. That’s the most important thing. Anything after that is just icing on the cake.”

Friday, the Huskies started things off with a 5-0 first-round trashing of eighth-seeded Eastern Illinois and followed that up with a 5-1 victory over Akron.

Saturday, the Huskies defeated the second-seeded Western Illinois Leathernecks, 5-1, in the Mid-Con championship match. No. 1 singles player Marty Engel had no problem with WIU’s John Bremner, as Engel defeated him 6-3, 6-3.

No. 2 Steve Senter squeaked out NIU’s title-clinching victory over WIU’s Kevin Hong in a tiebreaker, 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (7-5).

“Senter obviously had a really big win under pressure,” Merzbacher said.

No. 4 Matt Green won his match 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, while No. 5 Andy Schoeberlein defeated his opponent 6-1, 3-6, 6-2. No. 6 David Edelman also won 6-3, 6-2.

No. 3 Dustin Dobrin, despite losing in a tiebreaker, 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4), to WIU’s Joel Tennison, played in one of the most exciting matches of the day.

“He made a great comeback,” Merzbacher said. “So many times he’s been there for us, and you can count on him. For once, we had some other guys win one for him.”

Everyone will be returning for the Huskies in 1992, which leaves speculation open for a possible “three-peat.”