Jan. 19, 2013
Live Stats & Video
DeKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois men's tennis team will open its 2013 campaign Sunday afternoon at the Baseline Tennis Center in Minneapolis, Minn. to take on No. 35 Minnesota at 4 p.m. The Huskies enter the season as the defending Mid-American Conference Champion and will be seeking to become the first repeat champion, outside of Ball State and Western Michigan, since Miami (Ohio) in 1996-97.
The Huskies contest against the Golden Gophers can be followed online via live stats and video at GopherSports.com.
It's been three months since NIU was last on the court as it wrapped up its fall season at the ITA Midwest Regional in East Lansing, Mich., where Huskie Dor Amir (Tel Aviv, Israel) advanced to the main draw's round of 16 in singles play after a pair of wins. Teammate Axel Lagerlof (Malmo, Sweden) also appeared in the main draw but did advance past the round of 64.
A third Huskie nearly appeared in the main draw as Max Phillips (Berkhamstead, England) won two matches in the qualifying draw to advance to the championship match, but Phillips was unable to advance as he fell to Notre Dame's Mike Moore, 6-1, 6-1. Newcomer Simon Formont (Orléans, France) won a first round qualifying match at Michigan State in the Midwest regional but fell in the second.
Northern Illinois prepared itself well earlier in the fall as well, facing the likes of Alabama, Michigan, Michigan State and Notre Dame at the Tom Fallon Invitational, finding mixed results in singles and doubles play against four perennially nationally ranked programs. On the final day of the tournament, the Huskies finished 0-6 in singles play, but went on to compete nearly flawless in doubles with a 5-1 record. Amir would go on to collect all-tournament honors.
Last spring, NIU finished 2012 with a 21-7 record, the first 20 season since 1989 under then Head Coach Carl Neufeld, now No. 10 amongst active coaches in NCAA dual wins (508). With a 4-1 record in the MAC, the Huskies shared the conference championship with Buffalo to stake claim in their first MAC Championship in team history and their seventh championship all-time.
The Golden Gophers are coming off of a 13-8 campaign last season, that saw the UM finish fourth in the Big Ten with an 8-3 mark en route to an NCAA Tournament berth. There, Minnesota drew a first round showdown with tennis power No. 20 Tulsa and fell, 4-2. The Golden Gophers return eight players last years team, including sophomore Leandro Toledo who tied for the team lead with 23 wins last season, including 12 in the spring and 10 at the No. 2 position.
Following the Huskies season-opener in the Twin Cities, NIU returns to the court Jan. 25 for a pair of matches at Boylan Tennis Center in Rockford, Ill. against UW-Whitewater and Mid-American foe Chicago State. The Riverhawks showdown will begin at 1 p.m., while the Cougars-Huskies match will commence at 5 p.m.