Cats defeat Michigan State but lose to No. 20 Michigan

Even in the middle of a rebuilding year, the Northwestern men’s tennis team enjoyed a pair of promising results over the weekend. The Wildcats beat Michigan State 4-3 Saturday and then lost by the same score to No. 20 Michigan Sunday.

“The good news is, we’re getting better — we’re starting to put some wins together,” NU coach Paul Torricelli said. “(The Michigan loss) is a confidence builder. Even though it’s a loss, we played well with the No. 20 team in the country. Close losses are important.”

NU (7-8, 1-4 Big Ten) split the six singles matches with the Wolverines (8-3, 1-2), but lost two of three doubles matches to hand Michigan the deciding team point. Brad Erickson won at No. 1 singles, Joost Hol won at No. 2 and Jaime Sahara won at No. 6 to pace the Cats.

Saturday, NU swept all three doubles matches to secure a much-needed win over the Spartans. Hol at No. 1, Josh Axler at No. 2 and Sahara at No. 6 each won their singles matches to clinch the victory.

“We all played hard,” Hol said. “We needed a Big Ten win. (Against Michigan) it’s 4-3 against a pretty good team. We’re happy with it.”