Men ready to take on state rivals

By John Dietz

An anxious bunch of NIU tennis players will head to Champaign Saturday to take on intrastate rivals, the University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.

The 2-8 Huskies are hoping to erase the memories of last weekend when they were manhandled by Drake University, Iowa State University and the University of Iowa.

Head coach Chuck Merzbacher will look to the top of his lineup to get the Huskies off and rolling in both matches.

Leading the charge will be a revived Marty Engel, who had the flu when the Huskies took on Iowa last Sunday. Engel will try to end his two-match losing streak in singles play.

Merzbacher will also need strong performances from No. 2 seed Dustin Dobrin. Dobrin has given the team numerous wins at both singles and doubles play so far this season.

Matt Green should also give the team a good effort in these two matches. One of NIU’s most consistent players, Green was the only winner in a loss to Iowa State University last Saturday.

Despite the poor showing in Iowa, the team can’t wait to get back on the hardcourt.

“We are looking forward to getting back on the court. The guy’s spirits are high despite the losses.

“Playing Illinois will be nice because of the instate rivalry and SIU-E will be good for the north-south competition. It should be no problem getting the team hyped for either match,” Merzbacher said.

Both opponents check in at 2-1.