Cats are like the Pats for a weekend (Men’s Tennis)

Franklin Kao

For one night, Northwestern played like the New England Patriots.

The Wildcats were as perfect as the unbeaten Pats Friday night, blanking Butler, 7-0. With the win, the team improved to 4-1 in dual play, while the Bulldogs fell to 0-6.

The first three singles points earned by NU clinched the victory and were done so in a dominant fashion. The victors all won in straight sets, and all the sets were won by a margin of at least three games.

Freshman David Seyferth defeated Sam Brown 6-3, 6-1 at No. 6 singles. Sophomore captain Alex Sanborn, who has yet to drop a singles set all season, won his match 6-1, 6-3 against Chris Herron at No. 3. Junior Marc Dwyer, who earned the Cats’ clinching point, bested Ben Raynauld 6-3, 6-2 at No. 1, breaking Reynauld’s serve to win each set.

Coach Arvid Swan said he was pleased with the way his young NU team has grown.

“(We) won the critical points, which is what you’re trying to get a young team to learn how to do,” Swan said. “(I’m) trying to encourage these guys to take the match from their opponent rather than hope that the opponent gives it to them.”

Just as New England had issues reaching perfection – like nail-biting victories over Philadelphia and Baltimore – the Cats ran into their own share of problems.

While the final score implies perfection, NU did lose one doubles match. The No. 1 team of Dwyer and Sanborn played a tie-breaker in their 8-7 (7-1) loss.

The other two doubles matches were close as well. At No. 2, freshman Pete Rispoli and graduate student Alexander Thams were down 4-5 before winning the next four games to win 8-5. Junior Juan Gomez and Seyferth needed to play an extra game to claim their 9-7 victory in No. 3.

As for the singles matches, some of the players started out a little slow. Rispoli, who played at No. 4, lost his first set but bounced back to win the next two, 4-6, 6-1, 1-0 (10-5). Thams lost the first game in both sets but ended up winning 6-4, 7-6 (8-6).

Thams said he relied on his will rather than his skills to win his matches.

“I’m not really playing that (well) yet,” Thams said. “I’m not really confident playing yet. … I’m working hard (though) so it’s getting better every day.”

Gomez is another player who struggled in the beginning of the singles matches. He was down 1-4 in his first set before coming back. Gomez won his match 7-5, 6-3 at No. 5.

During the match, Gomez said the coaching was what helped him rebound from the slow start.

“The person I was playing had a better backhand than a forehand,” Gomez said. “So (assistant coach Chris Drake and I) talked a little about playing more to his forehand, which was an adjustment that (in) the end I think paid off strategically.”

For the remainder of the season, the Cats will want to finish like how the Patriots finished. But this coming weekend, New England will want to play like how NU performed Friday.

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