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Men’s Tennis: Wildcats prepare for two-round matchup in Evanston

Konrad+Zieba+hits+a+backhand.+The+senior+was+named+the+Big+Ten+Athlete+of+the+Week+and+will+look+to+lead+Northwestern+this+weekend.
Konrad Zieba hits a backhand. The senior was named the Big Ten Athlete of the Week and will look to lead Northwestern this weekend.

Konrad Zieba hits a backhand. The senior was named the Big Ten Athlete of the Week and will look to lead Northwestern this weekend.

Daily file photo by Daniel Tian

Daily file photo by Daniel Tian

Konrad Zieba hits a backhand. The senior was named the Big Ten Athlete of the Week and will look to lead Northwestern this weekend.

Benjy Apelbaum, Reporter

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Men’s Tennis


After a strong start to the season, Northwestern has the opportunity to exact revenge against a familiar foe and qualify for a national tournament this weekend.

Evanston will serve as a host site for the ITA’s Kick-Off Weekend, a two-round matchup that will provide the Wildcats the chance to earn an invitation to the National Indoor Tournament in February.

NU will open the weekend against Memphis (2-0) on Saturday. With a win, the Cats would face the winner of Georgia Tech (1-1) and No. 18 Stanford (2-0), which bounced them from the NCAA Tournament last year.

NU earned the opportunity to host the event after finishing in the top 16 last season.

“To be able to host in any capacity, whether it’s National indoors or the NCAA tournament, is a big honor and a credit to how the team has played, specifically last year’s team to be able to host this year,” coach Arvid Swan said.

The matchups were decided by a draft, with teams choosing sites based on their records last year. After upsetting the Cats 4-3 in the second round of last year’s NCAA Tournament, Stanford elected to return to Evanston.

But NU will need a win in its opening match, as will Stanford, for the rematch to occur. Against Memphis, the Cats will look for help from two newcomers who have impressed thus far: freshman Dominik Starý and sophomore Jason Seidman will enter the weekend with dual match records of 3-0 and 3-1, respectively.

Starý has rolled through early play, winning his past nine singles matches, including a run through the Big Ten Singles Tournament in the fall. Now anchoring the Cats’ No. 4 singles spot, Stary has quickly acclimated to the college game.

“It’s a whole new experience for me,” Starý said. “The atmosphere is great. You can feel the energy all around.”

Seidman has also played in each match this year after serving as a reserve a year ago. The sophomore has slid in as NU’s No. 5 or 6 singles player and recently recorded a decisive 6-1, 6-0 win in the 4-2 upset of No. 7 TCU.

Swan said he based his decision to elevate Seidman’s role on the sophomore’s work ethic through last season and the summer.

“It’s been really special,” Seidman said. “I’ve waited a long time for this, I’ve invested a lot of work. It’s good to be able to get some W’s for the team.”

The Cats will also lean on veteran leadership from the trio of seniors that top the singles lineup, including Big Ten Athlete of the Week Konrad Zieba. But if Seidman and Stary can provide an added punch, NU could take its team play to another level.

Despite the long-term implications of the weekend, Swan is focused on the match ahead.

“Everyone wants the chance to be able to play at a final site and have the chance to play indoors against the best teams in the country,” Swan said. “Our focus needs to be solely on Memphis.”

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated Georgia Tech’s record. It is 1-1. The Daily regrets the error.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @benjyapelbaum

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