Sophomore excited to get back at Wisconsin

Sarah Bailey

When Adam Schaechterle played in the Junior National Tournament in high school, he was ranked lower than two of his Oconomowoc, Wis., high school teammates.

Then, when Schaechterle tried to contact the Wisconsin coach about playing for the Badgers, the coach never returned his phone calls. Both of the teammates ranked higher than him at the high school tournament now play for Wisconsin.

Although his aspirations of playing with the Badgers never came through, Schaechterle doesn’t seem to have too many regrets.

After more than a year of playing at Northwestern, Schaechterle said Wildcats coach Paul Torricelli and the program have provided a great experience for him. He is particularly excited about playing Wisconsin for his second time in two years Saturday, when NU travels to Madison, Wis., for its second Big Ten match of the season.

“It should be fun,” Schaechterle said. “I didn’t get recruited to play there, and last year we beat them 7-0. Things have definitely worked out for the best for me.”

The No. 40 Cats (8-4, 0-1 Big Ten) will be leaving Evanston after eight straight home matches.

Schaechterle enters Saturday’s meet on a two-match winning streak in singles and having won his last three doubles matches. Overall, Schaechterle carries a 4-3 singles record, including the Cats’ only singles victory against Notre Dame last Saturday.

“I’m excited to be able to play in front of friends and family,” Schaechterle said. “It’s pretty easy for me to get excited and competitive when I’m playing Wisconsin in general.”

The Cats, who won six of eight contests in their homestand, were last on the road one month ago, when they lost to Virginia and Minnesota. The match against the Badgers (3-3, 0-0) will be NU’s first conference match since it faced the Golden Gophers on Jan. 25.

“We’re really starting our Big Ten season now, and Wisconsin will set the tone for a lot of upcoming games this season,” junior Chuck Perrin said.

Schaechterle’s current doubles partner, freshman Matt Christian, was also his partner at Junior Nationals, so he has played against many of the same players as Schaechterle. Christian is from Michigan and grew up as a Wolverines fan, but his high school rival attends Wisconsin and he’s excited to play against him again.

“We’re coming off a loss to Notre Dame, so this weekend we have to take it out on Wisconsin,” Christian said. “I’m pretty confident we can win.”

While the Cats’ focus in most matches has been strong doubles play, the team is concentrating on its singles play this weekend.

“We’ve been getting the job done in the doubles,” Perrin said. “I think our biggest thing now is trying to maintain our patience throughout the singles matches. A lot of times we get up early and falter later in the match.

“If we can maintain a strong patience throughout the whole match, we should do well throughout the season.”

NU is looking to gain momentum for the rest of its season, which includes only one more nonconference match.

Perrin said where the Cats finish in the conference is much more important to the team than its national ranking. A win over Wisconsin this weekend would give NU an early confidence boost for league play — and Schaechterle said the Cats could be in the clear if they come out of the gate strong.

“Doubles is (Wisconsin’s) biggest strength,” Schaechterle said. “Last year we took the doubles point and they just kinda went away.”