Men’s Tennis: After losing to Alabama on Friday, Northwestern defeated Auburn on Sunday for its first win of the year


Daily file photo by David Lee

Dominik Stary pumps his first. The junior helped NU secure its first doubles point of the season.

Eric Rynston-Lobel, Reporter

Men’s Tennis

After spending the weekend in the much warmer state of Alabama, Northwestern returned back to frigid Evanston on Sunday having picked up its very elusive first win of the season.

Despite losing to Alabama (6-0) 5-2 on Friday to fall to 0-4, the Wildcats (1-4) defeated Auburn (7-2) 4-2. Winning the doubles point for the first time this season helped give NU an early lead heading into singles play, where the Cats won three of the five completed matches.

Junior Dominik Stary said the energy the team brought was key in jump-starting the match in its favor.

“We finally played with more energy in our doubles matches,” he said. “We were able to play really well from the beginning so you’re not behind in any of those sets and we tried to stay ahead of our opponents.”

As for Stary individually, he said he played Sunday despite being sick. Fortunately for NU, he was able to battle through the adversity and contribute to the team’s success in doubles playing with junior Chris Ephron.

While winning the doubles point accounted for only one of the four points the Cats tallied on the score sheet, the team’s performances in singles was just as strong. Catapulted by the performance of freshman Trice Pickens, who won his singles sets 7-6, 2-5, 6-3, NU was able to take advantage of winning its first sets. Including Pickens, five of the six singles players won their first sets.

Having also won his singles match on Friday against the Crimson Tide, Pickens said he sees how he’s developed over the course of the season.

“I’ve gotten better as a player,” he said. “The coaches have helped me a lot, adding more tools to my game and learning how to play in pressure situations.”

Head coach Arvid Swan said that Sunday’s win was all about continuing to improve as a team. He said he felt as though the team moved in the right direction despite the loss to Alabama on Friday, and now “guys are just learning what it really takes to win at this level.”

Moving forward, Stary said that he hopes the team can carry the momentum from Sunday’s win into next week, when the Cats host Duke and Chicago State for their first home matchups of the season.

“Hopefully we’re gonna be able to keep up the level that we play(ed) today,” he said. “Hopefully we’re going to be able to play like that next week as well.”

Both of those matches next week will be played on Sunday, so having played two matches in under 48 hours this past weekend seemed like a good stamina test for NU. Pickens, when asked how he felt physically, shrugged off the notion of fatigue.

“I’m fine,” he said. “There’s nothing we can’t handle.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @EricR_L