Men’s Tennis: Northwestern heads to Lexington, Forman earns individual qualification


Daily file photo by Alyce Brown

Northwestern men’s tennis team huddles before a match. The Wildcats will face ETSU in the first round of the postseason.

Nathan Ansell, Senior Staffer

Men’s Tennis

Northwestern’s first showdown against Kentucky was canceled earlier in the season, but three months later, both teams are only one match away from squaring off.

Coach Arvid Swan and NU (19-10, 6-3 Big Ten) will travel to Lexington, Kentucky to face East Tennessee State (20-6, 7-0 Southern) in the first round of the Division I Men’s Tennis Championship Friday. The Buccaneers have won their last four matches without dropping a single point, but they haven’t defeated any ranked opponents this year in six attempts.

This will be the first ever matchup between NU and ETSU. The two teams have one common opponent in Indiana — NU won its regular season finale against the Hoosiers 4-0, while the Buccaneers defeated Indiana 6-1 early in their season.

Should NU win against ETSU, it will likely face the region’s only seeded team, No. 8 Kentucky (21-7, 10-2 SEC). The SEC Championship runner-up, who will face DePaul (13-12, 5-0 Big East) as its first round opponent, is a formidable foe, boasting four ranked singles players.

NU has faced Kentucky twice before, winning both times. The most recent head-to-head was in 2020, a 4-2 contest in Lexington — seniors Steven Forman, Trice Pickens and Simen Bratholm were all involved in that match.

NU has never advanced past the second round under Swan’s tenure. Swan told The Daily in May that consistently reaching the third round, the super-regional, was a program goal, having qualified for the second round five times in the past nine seasons.

In addition to the team event, Forman qualified for the singles competition, the NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Subcommittee announced Tuesday. Forman, ranked No. 42 in the nation in singles, led NU with a 19-5 dual match record at the top court, including four wins against other players in the individual field of 64.

Forman is the first NU player to qualify for the national singles event since 2017, when Strong Kirchheimer and Konrad Zieba were both selected. Forman will learn his first opponent when the individual brackets are revealed shortly before the singles tournament begins in Champaign on May 23.

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Twitter: @nathanjansell

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