NU silences opponents with weekend sweep (Men’s Tennis)

Tania Ganguli

Echoes of throaty Indiana State taunts filled Combe Tennis Center on Sunday, but the Northwestern men’s tennis team got the final scream.

The Wildcats (5-1, 1-0 Big Ten) rose from their 2-3 deficit and quieted the Sycamores 4-3 with wins by sophomore Chuck Perrin and freshman Adam Schaechterle.

“(Indiana State) really gets in your face, but I play better when I’m mad,” Perrin said.

After completing what coach Paul Torricelli called an “enormously successful weekend,” the Cats kept one streak alive and ended another, shutting out Wisconsin in their 14th straight win over the Badgers before topping Indiana State 4-3 for their first win ever against the school.

Against the Badgers, the Cats swept all three doubles sets and lost only one set in the singles matches to pick up a win in their Big Ten opener.

That victory gave them the momentum they needed against Indiana State, the team that knocked them out of the NCAA tournament last year.

“Wisconsin just went away after a little while,” Schaechterle said. “But we knew Indiana State was going to be a much more mental game.”

After helping secure the doubles point, senior Russell Bennett returned from an injury to play his first singles match of the season, losing to Danibor Mihajlovic.

Torricelli attributed Bennett’s loss to rust.

“You can practice all you want to, but playing in a dual match is different,” he said.

NU sophomore Tommy Hanus squeaked out a win over No. 47 Vedran Vidovic in the first set and took a commanding lead before his opponent collapsed on the court at match point.

After five minutes of recuperating, Vidovic was finished off by a Hanus ace on the first point back.

“I had to calm down and not get distracted,” Hanus said of Indiana State’s boisterous squad. “They’re a really verbal team, and I guess that helps them against some teams.”

NU seniors Jackie Jenkins and Josh Axler also went down with identical scores of 6-7, 3-6 in their singles matches, giving Indiana State a 3-2 advantage.

In a situation similar to last week, NU saw itself down by one match with the overall contest resting on wins by two players — this time Perrin and Schaechterle.

Both won their first sets and lost their second, needing a decisive third set for an NU team victory.

“I kept looking at the overall picture,” Perrin said. “It’s hard to concentrate on your own match when you have a teammate who’s still fighting and you know the team needs both wins.”

Perrin overpowered Indiana State’s David O’Connell for a commanding 6-1 finish to tie the match score at 3-3.

And with the extra boost from Perrin’s win, Schaechterle finished off Dmytro Ishtuganov 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 to captured the match for the Cats.

“Adam showed a lot of poise,” Torricelli said. “And he didn’t wipe out.”