Men’s Tennis: NU stumbles twice on trip to Hoosier state

Steven Montero

A string of disappointments doomed No. 72 Northwestern’s final weekend of the Big Ten season, as it fell to both No. 23 Indiana and No. 67 Purdue.

Indiana has proven unstoppable in Big Ten competition so far, boasting an undefeated record. The Hoosiers were able to strip the Wildcats of their prized token this season, the doubles point. With a complete sweep of the doubles matches, Indiana went into singles with the advantage.

“They just outplayed us,” coach Arvid Swan said. “I didn’t think we played particularly poorly or anything like that.”

The Cats did manage to defeat two of Indiana’s best, however, at the No. 1 and No. 3 spots. Junior Joshua Graves and sophomore Spencer Wolf were able to fend off their opponents to give NU a fighting a chance and a 5-2 final score.

Graves said he was happy about his win over Indiana’s No. 1 but there was much to learn from the match.

“We had high hopes going into the weekend and we came up short in both matches,” Graves said. “I think that on any given day we could have beaten them, they could have beaten us. Unfortunately we had a couple days that we didn’t all play our best at the right time and the other teams played very well.”

He also disagreed with Swan on the doubles performance against Indiana. Although Indiana has a good doubles group, the team didn’t play its best and that was a major factor, Graves said.

Nevertheless the weekend’s outcome was considerably “frustrating,” according to Swan. Yet he said he admired the strong aggressive doubles matches against Purdue, in which Northwestern swung their luck around and picked up all three victories. Sadly it wasn’t enough to hold back Purdue, who roared back to win 4-3, clinching the match in singles play.

“We were in a position to win the match,” Swan said. “I just think in singles we didn’t play as well as we needed to coming to net, coming forward and making our opponents react to us. I think we just played a little too passively and too defensive in terms of our style of play and at critical moments it cost us.”

From the on-court perspective, Wolf said this weekend’s play was “not characteristic” of the team. Losing to Purdue was worse than to Indiana because NU is a “more talented team,” Wolf said.

“I felt like we definitely should have beaten that team,” he said. “We had opportunities on every court so I think if we could play that team again right now then we’d beat them, but they just out-competed us on all the courts.”

Wolf also managed to come away with a No. 3 singles win in the Purdue match, finishing off Aaron Dujovne in two sets but it would not stand against Purdue’s 4 individual points. He said NU’s state is climbing up a “hump” now and the main goal should be focus on what’s to come.

“Any team can make it over that hump,” he said. “It’s just the players have to dig down deep and we have to buy into our system. Obviously we wish we had a better record, we could have beaten other teams. But we can’t live in the past now and I think all of our efforts are to stay positive, be doing what we have and really believe that all of our training is working.”

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