Men’s Tennis: Northwestern falters in first match of 2019 at Memphis


Daily file photo by Allison Albelda

Dominik Stary strikes a backhand. The junior won his singles match 6-3 6-3.

Eric Rynston-Lobel, Reporter

Men’s Tennis

Despite having a number of opportunities to change the outcome of the match, Northwestern started off its season with a tough loss, falling to Memphis 5-2 on the road Sunday.

Head coach Arvid Swan said the team had several chances to win the doubles point, but the team didn’t convert enough times. With the energy the team had, Swan said the score could’ve been “much closer.”

The biggest brightspot for NU (0-1) in its loss Sunday to the Tigers (1-0) was the play of junior Dominik Stary in his singles matchup against Memphis’ Jeremy Taylor. Stary won both sets 6-3, accounting for one of NU’s two wins in singles play. The other win was courtesy of Chris Ephron, who defeated David Stevenson 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5).

Stary said he thought having two years of experience playing college tennis may have given him the advantage over Taylor, even though Stary is known for being a doubles stalwart.

“He played with tremendous effort, and he used momentum to his advantage in the match, which is something I think we need to make sure to emphasize as well this week,” Swan said. ”He’s a winner and plays at a very high level. He did a great job today, and I expect that to continue.”

However, Stary mentioned the Cats need to find a way to turn these close losses into wins, something the team struggled with last year. In addition to individual tweaks Swan said he plans to make with him, Stary believes winning close matches is “definitely something we need to change and focus on.”

Senior Ben Vandixhorn, who lost his doubles match with Antonioni Fasano 6-4, said that in order to win these tight matches, it is necessary to take advantage of the opportunities.

“We got up a break 3-2 in the set and we had chances to go up 4-2, and we just couldn’t execute there and capitalize on that opportunity,” Vandixhorn said. “It turned into a dog fight for the rest of the set, and they came up with some big shots at the end of the match.”

With regards to NU’s performance in singles play, Swan said there were times the team got “a little too defensive,” and that he and assistant coach Chris Klingemann have to work with the team to put them in a better position to succeed moving forward.

Swan also said it is important for the team to stay the course despite losing these close matches. In terms of the team’s energy, which was a major focus heading into this season, Vandixhorn said he was pleased with the effort his teammates gave.

“I think all the courts and the guys that weren’t playing collectively as a whole were able to bring a lot of energy, and you could feel it,” he said. “If we can bring similar energy and get in similar situations where we have chances to win the matches, then hopefully next time we can execute and learn from this weekend.”

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