Feb. 19, 2014
DeKALB, Ill. - The Huskies (7-3) are starting things off a bit earlier than normal this week. As opposed to matches on Friday and Sunday, this week, they'll be playing on Thursday and Saturday. On Thursday, February 20, the Huskies will face the Butler Bulldogs (5-2). On Saturday, NIU is set to face two teams, the Western Illinois Leathernecks (1-5) at 1:00 p.m. and the Dayton Flyers (1-5) at 5:00 p.m. All of these matches will be at the Boylan Tennis Center in Rockford, Ill.
Last weekend, the Huskies split their two matches against Iowa and IUPUI. On Friday at Iowa, NIU took a 5-2 loss at the hands of the Hawkeyes. The match was very close overall, and the Huskies fell just short in a few singles matches to seal the defeat.
On Sunday, the team bounced back to defeat IUPUI 6-1. NIU got into a 1-0 hole early as the Huskies dropped the doubles point, but they were dominant in singles play to stay unbeaten at the Boylan Tennis Center this season (7-0).
Butler is off to a fine start in the men's tennis season. The 5-2 record is much better than the Bulldogs were at this point last year when the team was 3-4 seven matches in. Parker Ross heads the coaching staff for Butler, who has steadily improved the team since his first year at the position in 2012. In 2012, his team won just four matches all season, but in 2013, he helped to more than double that figure as the Bulldogs won 10 matches. With their strong start, he's well on his way to helping his team improve even further. Last year, the Huskies fell 5-2 to Butler, so they'll look to strike back this season at home.
Western Illinois is off to a rough start this season at 1-5. The Leathernecks won't play on their home courts for roughly a month, so they'll look for success on the road in the near future. Head Coach Mashika Washington has climbed the ladder quickly at Western Illinois. Just two years ago, he was a volunteer assistant coach for the team. Washington is a former professional tennis player, competing at such events as the US Open and Brasil Open during his career.
Dayton is also 1-5 to start the season. However, the Flyers' record could be much different, as three of their six matches have ended in a 4-3 defeat. Ryan Meyer acts as the head coach for both the men's and women's tennis teams at the institution. Meyer has been coaching at the collegiate and recreational level for over seven years now. When the Huskies faced Dayton last year, NIU won 5-2.
Following the completion of NIU's match against Dayton on Saturday, the Huskies will look ahead to four straight matches on the road. Their next match will be on Thursday, March 6 at Marquette. That one will start at 6:00 p.m.