Men’s Tennis: Doubles point crucial as Northwestern faces North Carolina State

Rebecca Friedman

With only three matches left until the Big Ten season, the Wildcats are polishing their play in both doubles and singles.

No. 57 Northwestern has a 7-2 record and has won the doubles point 8 of 9 times this season. NU faces off against North Carolina State on Saturday at the Combe Tennis Center.

The Wolfpack aren’t new faces for the Cats, who lost to the Wolfpack last season 5-2 in Raleigh, N.C., despite winning the doubles point.

“We know them pretty well,” coach Arvid Swan said. “We’ve played them the past few years. They’re really solid in doubles and they’re very solid in singles.”

NC State is undefeated when it wins the doubles point.

Its lone loss in doubles came against No. 7 Kentucky when it lost the doubles point 2-0 en route to a 4-0 loss to the Wildcats.

NU is coming off an impressive 6-1 win against New Mexico on Saturday, where the team seemed to be firing on all cylinders.

The Cats’ consistent doubles game has been a huge part of their success all year, and they will need to continue to play their doubles system to get the victory.

Senior Josh Graves missed the New Mexico match, and Swan used junior Chris Jackman and senior Eric Spector to fill the void in the lineup.

Both players were competing for the first time this season, and both won all of their matches on the day.

In order to prepare for upcoming Big Ten matches, NU is looking at the mental aspect of the game.

Junior Sidarth Balaji said the Cats will need to be focused and confident if they are going to get better on the court.

Spencer Wolf said he is confident in the team’s ability to practice hard to prepare for the Big Ten matches.

“I think everyone’s just trying to get better every day in practice,” the junior said. “There’s not one specific thing to point out. We’ve all improved a lot since the beginning of the year, and we’ve shown it a lot.”

With conference play looming, the team isn’t getting too ahead of itself.

“I’m just focused on NC State. They’re a very good team from the ACC and they play very well,” Swan said. “We need to take one match at a time. The most important thing is to have a good week of practice to prepare for a tough NC State team.”

Swan said the team needs to bring good effort against the Wolfpack.

“I know that they’re going to come with high energy and very well-coached,” he said. “I certainly know the team, and there’s no real secrets when we play each other.”

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