Men’s Tennis: Wildcats feel confident despite splitting final matches of season


Zack Laurence/The Daily Northwestern

Logan Staggs readies his return. The freshman lost the deciding match in Northwestern’s 4-3 defeat against Minnesota.

Khadrice Rollins, Assistant Sports Editor

Men’s Tennis

Northwestern had a weekend of highs and lows.

The No. 27 Wildcats (19-8, 8-3 Big Ten) won their first contest, but had their seven-match winning streak snapped in the final match of the regular season.

NU’s weekend started off strong with an impressive win over Wisconsin (7-17, 3-8). NU had to fight back to claim victory against the Badgers, as the team lost the doubles’ point for the first time since March 27. The Cats were able to overcome the 1-0 deficit to claim a 6-1 victory in the match.

“I thought we competed really well,” coach Arvid Swan said. “Against Wisconsin, (we) did a really good job of winning six singles after losing a tough doubles match.”

On Sunday, NU took on No. 33 Minnesota (19-6, 10-1), but could not pull off the same heroics. In a thrilling contest that went down to the last match, the Cats fell short of victory and lost 4-3.

“It came down to the wire and we lost,” sophomore Konrad Zieba said. “But I thought we competed well, and we gave it all we had.”

NU lost the doubles point to start the match, but captured the first point of the singles competitions thanks to sophomore Sam Shropshire winning 6-1, 7-5. The Cats then went down 3-1 before Zieba and sophomore Alp Horoz picked up victories to bring NU even in the match. Unfortunately, freshman Logan Staggs dropped a heartbreaking match 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-5) to cement the Cats’ demise.

“It was a super tough match to lose,” Shropshire said. “But even with the loss, I still think we played alright.”

The loss leaves NU in fourth in the conference heading into the Big Ten Tournament. Although the Cats have a good seed, they are winless against the three teams ahead of them in the standings: Illinois, Ohio State and Minnesota.

Despite losing close matches to those three teams, NU is ready for a rematch against any one of them.

“We want to play all three,” Swan said. “We’re ready to play anybody in the Big Ten.”

The Cats have proven throughout the year they can play with elite competition. NU is 9-7 against ranked teams on the season, but early victories against quality teams are not what NU is drawing inspiration from going into the postseason.

The goal for the Cats is to be playing their best tennis as the end of the year approaches. They say they have battled enough all year to understand how to get there.

“We’re a resilient group,” Swan said. “We’ve responded well all year, and I expect the same going into the Big Ten Tournament.”

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