Easy weekend win over Iowa propels NU to 4th in Big Ten

Nina Mandell

The Northwestern men’s tennis team’s doubles duo of Willy Lock and Tommy Hanus played against a familiar face at Iowa on Friday — teammate Adam Schaechterle’s twin brother, Aaron, who competed at No. 3 doubles and No. 5 singles.

At first, it appeared that Iowa’s Schaechterle and Matis Jasicek might get the best of Hanus and Lock at No. 3 doubles. The Iowa tandem rallied to a 4-1 lead, but Lock and Hanus fought back to win, 8-4, completing the Wildcats’ sweep at doubles.

This sparked No. 42 NU’s 5-2 victory over Big Ten foe Iowa (3-13, 0-7 Big Ten).

“(Playing Aaron Schaechterle) was kinda weird, like playing Adam,” Lock said. “You’re trying to beat him, but you’re thinking, ‘How could you beat Adam’s brother?’

“We were losing at the beginning, and then Tommy and I said, ‘All right, we have to win this. It’s Adam’s brother.'”

Adam Schaechterle and Matt Christian moved to the No. 2 spot so Schaechterle wouldn’t have to play his twin. Schaechterle and Christian improved their record to 7-3, edging Walter Valarezo and Jonny Hoak, 9-7.

Chuck Perrin and Justin Hoeveler was the only pair in its usual spot, and breezed to an 8-3 win. Players said they were happy with the way they were able to set the tone in doubles.

“We knew it was a match we should win easily,” coach Paul Torricelli said. “But the guys approached it the right way and came out ready to play.”

The Cats (13-5, 4-2) didn’t have it so easy in singles, but won at the No. 2, 3, 4 and 5 spots to seal the match.

Both Christian Tempke and Matt Christian didn’t play singles because of sore shoulders, so NU had to rely on Ahmed Wahla and Hoeveler, who played their first singles matches of the Big Ten season.

Wahla defeated Iowa’s Schaechterle at the No. 5 spot, 6-3, 6-1. Hoeveler was edged by Jasicek, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), in the first Big Ten singles match of his career.

NU also faltered at the No. 1 singles spot when the Hawkeyes’ Sebastian Delgado defeated Tommy Hanus, 6-4 6-2. It was Delgado’s first win at the No. 1 spot.

“The No. 1 kid played a good match against Tommy,” Torricelli said. “The No. 1 player can always be a head and shoulders above even a weak team.”

NU players said they knew coming into the match that they had more skill, experience and depth than their opponent. Iowa, which has not won a conference match this season, has five freshmen and three sophomores on its roster. NU players said Iowa’s loss didn’t seem like a surprise — even to the Hawkeyes.

“I think we wanted to win more than them,” Lock said. “They expected not to do that well, and we expected to go out and play our best and win.”

With the win, the Cats accomplished one of Torricelli’s goals for the season: Moving into fourth place in the league standings. But players said fourth isn’t good enough.

“We need to move higher, and we will move higher,” Wahla said. “I’m looking forward to a week of good practice to get ready for this weekend.”