Men’s Tennis: Northwestern sweeps weekend matches


Daniel Tian/Daily Senior Staffer

Junior Alp Horoz (left) and senior Mihir Kumar celebrate after a point. Northwestern continued its dominant start to the season, winning its fifth straight Big Ten match to open the conference schedule.

Benjy Apelbaum, Reporter

Men’s Tennis

Northwestern continues to steamroll its competition as it continues its Big Ten slate.

The No.13 Wildcats (19-2, 5-0 Big Ten) swept both of their matches against Big Ten foes Wisconsin (13-3, 3-2) and Minnesota (6-13, 0-5) by a score of 4-0.

This year’s Cats continue to rewrite the record book — NU’s 5-0 start to conference play is its best since 1997 and sits beside the best start in program history. Sunday was the Cats’ fifth consecutive victory and their fourth straight shutout. The two conference wins put them in a two-way tie atop the Big Ten standings with Ohio State.

“We’re trying to win the Big Ten championship,” junior Alp Horoz said. “Every Big Ten match is hard so it helps (our confidence) each match since we’re winning so much.”

Although it was not evident due to NU’s dominant performance, Wisconsin went into Friday’s match with a 13-1 record, with its only loss on the season coming to No. 2 TCU.

The doubles point against the Badgers was very competitive. Wisconsin won 6-3 at first doubles and the Cats won at No. 2 doubles by the same score just after. That left it up to the No. 3 doubles team of Horoz and senior Mihir Kumar to decide which team would capture the first point of the match.

After both teams held off break points in their service games, Kumar and Horoz won the set off a break of serve when the duo was up 5-4. After doubles concluded, NU ran away with the rest of the match, winning all the finished matches in straight sets and only dropping one total set in singles.

The Cats are a perfect 18-0 this season when they win the doubles point.

The first singles match to finish against Wisconsin was at No.1 singles, where junior Sam Shropshire won 6-2, 6-2. This was the second win in as many completed matches at the first spot by Shropshire, who has completed 11 matches at No. 2 singles. Shropshire overpowered Josef Dodridge in the match and was repeatedly able to consistently rush the net to finish off points.

“I’ve definitely been trying to play aggressively,” Shropshire said. “I’ve been working on that a lot in practice, and I’m trying to do it in the matches also.”

The win against Minnesota played out similarly with every match being completed in straight sets. Horoz and junior Strong Kirchheimer both made quick work of their singles opponents, winning by scores of 6-0, 6-1 and 6-1, 6-2, respectively. Those matches marked the fifth straight singles win for Horoz and the sixth for Kirchheimer, the longest streaks on the team.

In both matches this weekend, freshman Ben Vandixhorn recorded the fourth and clinching point, beating out his teammates who were also racing toward the finish.

“We’re trying to build, trying to keep getting better,” coach Arvid Swan said. “It was a good overall weekend for us. Two good teams — which we won both — give us confidence going into some tough away matches coming up.”

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