April 16, 2010
KALAMAZOO, Mich. - Freshman Maksym Bartiuk continued his torrid stretch through the Mid-American Conference with his tenth-consecutive win at the No. 1 position, but the Northern Illinois men's tennis team dropped a 6-1 decision versus host Western Michigan at the Sorensen Courts in Kalamazoo Friday afternoon.
"We certainly had our chances today, especially in doubles," said NIU head coach Patrick Fisher. "We were up a break at both No. 2 and No. 3, but couldn't hold on. Credit goes to Western Michigan; they are a veteran team that knows how to pull through in those types of situations.
"For us to beat any of the top-four teams in our league we need a lot to go right; we have a very small margin for error. With more experience, our guys will find out what it takes to win in those situations. I thought Maksym (Bartiuk) was great today - he's on his way to having a special season, and if he can finish out strong, he's going to be considered for first-team All-MAC and Player of the Year recognition."
NIU's (9-10, 0-3 MAC) No. 2 doubles tandem of Bartiuk and Maximilan Phillips stretched the pro-set to extra frames, but eventually dropped a 9-8 decision; while Javier Bernabe and Greg Czajkowski were outlasted by the Broncos' Casey Cullen and Pablo Olivarez at third doubles.
WMU's top doubles tandem of Michael and Thomas Calderone defeated the Huskies' Mikhail Titov and Roman Turtygin by a count of 8-4, officially clinching the decisive doubles point.
Bartiuk powered to a first-set victory (6-3) over WMU's Kazuya Komada, before being outlasted in the second frame, 6-4. With the team result already being decided, Bartiuk then defeated Komada in the ensuing super tie-breaker, 10-4. Bartiuk remained unbeaten in MAC play, and has not lost since Feb. 7.
Turtygin, playing No. 4 singles, fell short in a 6-4, 7-5 decision versus Cullen. Titov was defeated in straight-sets (6-3, 6-4) by Michael Calderone at second singles, while Bernabe dropped a 6-2, 6-4 decision at No. 3. The order of finish in singles play went into the books as follows: 5, 2, 6, 3, 1 and 4.
Northern Illinois will host MAC foe Chicago State next Wednesday at the Huskie Tennis Courts beginning at 2 p.m., before traveling to SIU-Edwardsville on Thursday.