Men’s Tennis: Wildcats grab two weekend victories in Michigan

Khadrice Rollins, Assistant Sports Editor

Men’s Tennis

Northwestern had no trouble in Michigan this weekend and left the state with two impressive wins.

“Any time you can go on the road in the Big Ten against two quality opponents like Michigan State and Michigan and come back with two wins, I feel good about it,” coach Arvid Swan said. “It’s good momentum going into the last two weekends of the Big Ten season.”

The No. 24 Wildcats (16-7, 5-2 Big Ten) started the weekend with a trip to East Lansing, Michigan, on Friday, where they took on the Michigan State Spartans (11-12, 2-4).

It was a fantastic start for the Cats, who won the doubles point and took a 1-0 lead into the singles matches. The pairings of senior Alex Pasareanu with sophomore Sam Shropshire and sophomore Strong Kirchheimer with junior Fedor Baev won their matches so quickly the third doubles match went unfinished.

“Against Michigan State and Michigan … being able to win a doubles point definitely helped us,” Shropshire said.

The Cats then captured five of the six singles matches against the Spartans to earn a 6-1 victory.

The next day, NU visited Michigan (3-14, 0-6) for a very competitive match.

The Cats picked up the doubles point — a crucial advantage before heading into some intense singles matches.

Two of the matches went three sets, with NU splitting the points. Baev picked up a big comeback win in his match, 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 1-0 (13-11), but unfortunately freshman Logan Staggs was not able to walk away triumphantly in his nail-biting match, losing 2-6, 7-5, 1-0 (11-9).

Luckily for the Cats, Shropshire, Kirchheimer and sophomore Alp Horoz were able to win their matches and help lead NU to a 5-2 victory.

However, the results for sophomore Konrad Zieba’s matches this weekend were displeasing.

Although Zieba won both of his matches in NU’s two wins last Sunday against Penn State and IUPUI, he was unable to claim victory in either of his matches this weekend. As Zieba looks to bounce back from his performance, he is comforted knowing his team still came up victorious and his teammates are there to help him get back on track.

“It’s always encouraging when you’re not playing your best tennis that you have your teammates there to pick you up and motivate you,” Zieba said.  “When things aren’t going well, it’s always good to have someone to help you out.”

The Cats are now on a four-match winning streak with only five matches remaining before the Big Ten Tournament. NU sits at fourth in the conference, but this current hot streak has the team feeling assured and could help it leapfrog the conferences foes still ahead in the standings.

“We feel good about where we’re at,” Swan said. “We know we still can get better, but I think the group as a whole is confident.”

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