NU rebounds from blowout loss to Ohio State

Nina Mandell

Northwestern men’s tennis player Christian Tempke’s teammates were dropping like flies to No. 19 Ohio State (18-3, 6-1 Big Ten) on Friday.

But the freshman managed to stay composed, and notched his 14th win of the season — a 6-3, 6-4 victory at the second singles spot.

“The courts are slow in Ohio,” he said. “Slow courts are good for my game, and it gave me a good advantage.”

Tempke and Adam Schaechterle were the only players to score points for the No. 42 Wildcats, who fell 5-2 at Ohio State.

The Cats (14-6, 5-3) redeemed themselves Sunday, moving back into a tie for fourth in the Big Ten with a 6-1 spanking of Penn State.

Tempke’s win Friday was one of four he had this weekend. Tempke won again at the second spot on Sunday against Penn State, 6-1, 6-0. He also paired up with Tommy Hanus at the second doubles spot for a victory.

“Christian’s just a good all-around player who presents problems for his opponents,” coach Paul Torricelli said. “To beat him, you either need to be overpowering or have a great off-the-ground game.”

The Cats’ weekend started off badly, as they lost the doubles point and had to begin singles play losing 1-0.

“They were stronger than we were,” Torricelli said. “We were in the match until late, but if you’re going to beat Ohio State at home, you have to win the doubles point.”

NU lost at first and third doubles, but Hanus and Tempke prevented a shutout by winning their set 9-8 (7-0).

Torricelli said it was difficult for his team to regain momentum after losing the doubles point. Tommy Hanus’ 6-4, 6-1 loss to No. 1 Jeremy Wurtzman at the first singles spot clinched the match for Ohio State.

Adam Schaechterle fought back at the sixth spot to get the other point for the Cats, defeating Ross Wilson 7-5, 6-4.

The Cats had better luck on Sunday, and started the match by taking the doubles point with wins at second and third doubles. Chuck Perrin and Justin Hoeveler fell at the top doubles spot in a close match that ended more than 30 minutes after the other two doubles matches had finished.

“The doubles gave us momentum immediately,” Torricelli said. “It was hot and windy, and the guys did a great job of adjusting to the conditions.”

Penn State tied up the match when an arm injury forced Hanus to stop his match early at the top singles spot. Torricelli said the injury was not serious, and Hanus should be ready to play next weekend.

Tempke picked up his fourth win of the weekend and his 15th this season to put the Cats up 2-1. Perrin made it 3-1 when he avenged his doubles loss with a 6-1, 6-4 win at the third singles spot.

Matt Christian finished off Penn State with a win at the fifth spot. But for the second time this weekend, someone forgot to tell Schaechterle that the match had been clinched. Schaechterle started his third set down 4-2 to Brad Hunter before fighting back to win 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.

Torricelli said Schaechterle’s win was a good way to end the weekend.

“Adam was fighting regardless of the score,” Torricelli said. “He was down in third set and came back to win. That’s a great effort.”