NU stays unbeaten vs. DePaul

Nina Mandell

It was over quickly for DePaul.

In a sport where matches can last more than four hours, the Northwestern men’s tennis team notched its quickest win of the season in 2 hours and 48 minutes, sweeping the neighboring Blue Demons, 7-0.

The Wildcats credited their speedy win to strong singles play. Freshman Jamie Friedland was the first singles player to knock off his opponent, defeating Radek Guzik, 6-0, 6-0, at the No. 6 spot in less than 45 minutes. Friedland credited the win to the team raising its level of play after a tightly contested doubles point. Coach Paul Torricelli was just happy to see the freshman step up and show off his hard work.

“I had total confidence in Jamie,” Torricelli said. “He worked hard this week and he was way too good for his opponent.”

Friedland wasn’t the only one to score an easy point. Senior Ahmed Wahla finished his match soon after Friedland, defeating Eric Huffman, 6-3, 6-2, at the No. 5 spot. He was followed by Tommy Hanus, who clinched the win for the Cats at No. 1. Hanus came back from a 3-1 second-set deficit to defeat Mark Henderson, 6-1, 6-4.

It wasn’t so easy for the Cats at the start of the match. Before they swept singles, there was a long battle for the doubles point. After a win at the No. 2 doubles spot and a loss at No. 3, all eyes were on the No. 1 dual, which lasted far longer than its neighboring matches. Juniors Chuck Perrin and Justin Hoeveler managed to eke out an 8-6 win, clinching the double point for the Cats.

Torricelli said the doubles competition isn’t an accurate indicator of what will happen in singles play.

“I never compare doubles and singles because they’re totally different matches,” he said. “They’re different emotionally. The doubles can be faster and the singles can be slower. It’s all about the matchups.”

The quick win was not a big surprise for the Cats, who have now defeated DePaul 15 consecutive times. The Blue Demons have never beaten the Cats.

While they provided a good break for NU between tough opponents such as No. 25 Arkansas, No. 21 Harvard and No. 50 Notre Dame, the Blue Demons have not scored a point against the Cats since the 2001-02 season when NU won 6-1. But Torricelli said playing DePaul was not just a pity match.

“DePaul is a traditional opponent that we have a lot of respect for,” he said. “They haven’t always been easy and its just a natural match to play. There are some other local schools that we don’t play, but DePaul’s a good program and we’re going to play them.”

DePaul did provide the Cats some trouble throughout parts of the match. At the No. 2 singles spot, Perrin had to battle back from a second-set deficit before he could defeat Robert Kotroczo, 6-2, 7-5. And at the No. 3 singles spot, freshman Matt Christian had not even finished his first set by the time Friedland had completed his match. Christian had to battle his way to a 7-6 first-set win before finally defeating Sam Davidson 6-0 in the second set.

Friedland said taking a little longer to win his match wasn’t a bad thing.

“In a way, you always want a showdown,” he said. “But it’s nice to get the win as well.”

Before the match, the Cats were adamant about not looking past a traditionally easy opponent. But afterward they were looking forward to playing No. 50 Notre Dame on Saturday.

“I think it gives us a little confidence in preparation for the weekend,” Torricelli said. “Its a huge match Saturday.”