April 2, 2010
DEKALB - Saturday's Northern Illinois men's tennis match at Chicago State has been canceled and the Huskies will open Mid-American Conference play Sunday when they host Toledo at the Huskie Tennis Courts. The match will begin at 1 p.m.
NIU (9-7) was off last weekend after not dropping a single point in three home wins over Lewis, Aurora and Rockford from March 19-20. The Huskies have won eight of nine contests since mid-February, including five in a row entering this weekend.
“We could not be in a better position entering conference play,” said head coach Patrick Fisher. “We have made a great turnaround this season and our hard work has paid off. Our new players have done a great job in adjusting to college life and our recently success has definitely shown that. We are very excited to play in front of our fans in DeKalb Sunday.”
Fisher’s latest recruiting class of Maksym Bartiuk, Maximilian Phillips and Mikhail Titov has been dominant as of late. Bartiuk has won seven of his last eight matches at No. 1 singles and three consecutive contests at No. 2 doubles with Phillips.
Phillips, who owns a 7-9 record at the No. 4 and No. 5 singles positions, has also won four straight singles matches. Titov has won five straight singles contests, including a 6-0, 6-0 victory at No. 1 singles in the Huskies’ 7-0 home victory over Rockford March 20. Alongside sophomore Roman Turtygin, Titov has also won five consecutive contests at No. 1 doubles.
“Our team is very young but we have a great leader in (senior) Javier (Bernabe),” said Fisher. “He has done a tremendous job helping the new players get acclimated to NIU. I am eager to see how our younger players react to playing their first conference matches. The intensity level is different in conference play, but I believe our guys will make the necessary adjustments.”
Toledo (8-11, 0-1 MAC) dropped a 4-3 decision at Buffalo to open MAC play last Saturday. The Rockets, who are 1-9 on the road this season, have lost four of five matches since late February. Toledo was 2-0 against NIU last season, including a 4-2 victory in the second round of the MAC Championships.