Men’s tennis team earns emotional win vs. Purdue

NIU’s men’s tennis team picked up an emotional 8-1 victory over Purdue University Sunday at the Aurora Tennis Club.

While NIU had practiced all week without direct guidance from coach Chuck Merzbacher, sidelined by a bout with chicken pox, the Huskies had expected him back for the Purdue match. The NIU tennis boss had to leave town after his father, Charles Merzbacher Sr., died on Saturday.

“In the back of our minds, we know what coach has been going through this week and the past day,” veteran Dustin Dobrin said. “We went out determined to play our best as he’d want us to. I think the scores showed how determined we were.”

In singles, freshmen Marty Engel and Matt Green had the most dominant singles wins as Engel won the No. 1 contest over Purdue’s Scott Micus, 6-1, 6-3. Green was a 6-1, 6-2 victor over Purdue’s Mike Gucciardo at No. 3. Dobrin and David Edelman were two-set winners at Nos. 3 and 6 while Steve Senter won a 7-4 tiebreaker to take a three-set triumph at No. 2 singles.

Senter also teamed up with Green for a three-set win at the No. 1 doubles slot while Engel and Edelman did likewise at No. 2. Dobrin combined with Andy Schoerberlein for a 6-1, 6-4 conquest at the No. 3 spot.

While Purdue dropped to 7-4 with the loss, NIU chalked up a third straight victory to improve to 6-12 on the year. NIU opens defense of its Mid-Continent Conference crown Saturday at Valparaiso, Ind., against Akron and Valparaiso University.