DEKALB – The Northern Illinois men’s tennis team went the distance with Western Michigan Saturday in the Mid-American Conference men’s tennis championship match, but came up short in a tough 4-3 loss to the Broncos.
With the win, WMU improves to 19-9 and captures their second consecutive MAC tournament title. Meanwhile, the Huskies finished their season at 16-9.
“Western Michigan became the aggressors and we played passive,” said NIU head coach Patrick Fisher. “When you stay passive in critical moments, you run the risk of getting beat like you do. You basically have to hope that they give it away and they don’t.”
NIU drew first blood by winning the doubles point. With all three matches tight throughout, the Huskies’ #3 doubles team of Dor Amir and Simon Formont gave NIU the advantage with an 8-6 win over Ross VanderPloeg and Andrew Cahn. Moments later, Axel Lagerlof and Jovan Zeljkovic clinched the critical doubles tally by downing Jimmy Beckwith and Aaron Wong by an identical 8-6 margin.
WMU battled back by taking two of the first three singles matches to tie the match at 2-2. The Huskies got their second point courtesy of Amir, who took down Aaron Wong in straight sets 6-3, 6-4.
NIU moved ahead 3-2 when Lagerlof knocked off defending MAC Player of the Year Nadin Indre in a grueling three-set win 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. However, the Broncos countered with a win at #4 singles to tie the match again, this time at three apiece and setting the stage for a winner-take-all match at #2 singles.
However, WMU claimed the final and deciding match of the day when Ross VanderPloeg defeated NIU’s Frederic Cadieux 5-7, 6-4, 6-1. After winning the first set, Cadieux came close to gaining control of the match midway through the second set, but fell just short.
No. 1: Axel Lagerlof (NIU) def. Nadin Indre (WMU) 4-6, 6-2, 6-4
No. 2: Ross VanderPloeg (WMU) vs. Frederic Cadieux (NIU) 5-7, 6-4, 6-1
No. 3: Dor Amir (NIU) def. Aaron Wong (WMU) 6-2, 6-4
No. 4: Ruben Greiner (WMU) def. Jovan Zeljkovic (NIU) 6-3, 6-7 (8-6), 6-3
No. 5: Andrew Cahn (WMU) def. Max Phillips (NIU) 6-3, 6-1
No. 6: Pablo Mora (WMU) def. Simon Formont (NIU) 6-3, 7-5
No. 1: Frederic Cadieux/Max Phillips (NIU) vs. Nadin Indre/Ruben Greiner (WMU) 7-6 unfinished
No. 2: Axel Lagerlof/Jovan Zeljkovic (NIU) def. Jimmy Beckwith/Aaron Wong (WMU) 8-6
No. 3: Dor Amir/Simon Formont (NIU) def. Ross VanderPloeg/Andrew Cahn (WMU) 8-6