Men’s Tennis

Franklin Kao

How They’ve Fared So Far:

The No. 70 Wildcats are a respectable 6-6 so far this season. They have been playing very close to their ranking. They have beaten every lower-ranked team they have played and lost to every higher-ranked team.

Sophomore captain Alex Sanborn has been the most consistent singles player this season, posting a solid 9-3 record in dual play.

Sanborn started playing at No. 4 singles but has been moving up throughout the season, making three appearances at No. 2. In doubles, big-serving freshman Pete Rispoli and light-footed graduate student Alexander Thams have had the most success, playing at No. 2. They have a record of 9-3 in dual play.

“It’s great playing with Pete,” Thams said. “I think we complement each other really (well). … We’re playing better with every match. It took a while for us to really get to know each other, but now we’re playing really (well).”

What they’ve done best:

Northwestern’s best asset this season has been its tireless work ethic. Although each of the team’s losses has come by a score of 7-0 or 6-1, these scores are not indicative of how the matches went. In every defeat, the Cats have played the other team extremely tough.

Against William & Mary, NU won the doubles point and forced two singles matches to three sets. The other four matches had second sets that were decided by only two games each.

In a 7-0 loss to Notre Dame, two of the doubles matches were decided by only three games and two of the singles matches lasted beyond two sets. Two of the other singles matches were decided by close straight sets that resulted in fewer than a two-game margin.

“I don’t think there’s … too many programs in the country that work as hard as we do,” coach Arvid Swan said. “Hopefully the hard work is going to pay off, and the way we’re competing is going to pay off as we go forward, and hopefully we can get some big wins with the team.”

What they need to improve:

The most glaring stat of the year has been the team’s home versus road records. The Wildcats are 5-2 at home and 1-4 on the road. Though this partly has to do with the fact that most of their road duals have been against tougher opponents, the Cats seem to have a tendency to start slowly away from home.

NU lost four of its first sets against Louisville and all six of its first sets against William & Mary. The Cats also dropped three of the four first sets of the singles matches finished against VCU. The Cats need to win more first sets on the road to avoid playing from behind in a more hostile environment.