April 10, 2009
DEKALB, Ill. - After wrapping up the home portion of its schedule, the Northern Illinois men's tennis team will continue Mid-American Conference action on the road this weekend when the Huskies travel to Toledo (April 11) and Buffalo (April 12). Saturday's match against the Rockets is set to begin at 1 p.m., and the contest at Buffalo Sunday is an early start, slated to begin at 10 a.m.
The Huskies (5-8, 1-1 MAC) have split the first two matches of their conference schedule. NIU opened MAC play with a 7-0 win at Chicago State, April 2, and followed that with a 7-0 loss to preseason conference favorite Western Michigan in the Huskies' 2009 home finale last Sunday, April 5, at the Clocktower Resort in Rockford.
"This weekend's matches are very important for our fate heading into the MAC Tournament," said NIU head coach Pawel Gajdzik. "It's going to be a long trip, and we're not sure if we are playing indoors our outside. We're excited to get back on the court and have a chance to strengthen our position within the conference standings."
The Huskies will close out the regular season with four straight matches on the road, where they own a 3-8 record. NIU is led by freshman Jurica Grubisic, who owns a team-high eight singles victories at the No. 1 position, and four doubles wins.
Grubisic was paired with freshman Pawel Poziomski at the No. 1 position for three of his wins in doubles competition, and the fourth victory, at Chicago State, came alongside senior Shaun Stewart at No. 2 doubles. Junior Javier Bernabe recently moved up to the No. 4 singles slot, has been a consistent performer for the Huskies this season and is second on the team with seven victories.
Toledo (15-9, 1-1 MAC) played its first two MAC contests at home, and will be hosting its final home match of the 2009 season Saturday. The Rockets are fresh off a 4-3 loss to Ball State last Sunday and their lone victory in MAC play was a 6-1 decision over Buffalo on March 28. Toledo has dropped two contests in a row after winning four straight.
NIU and Toledo are currently tied for third in the MAC standings and have shared three common non-conference opponents during the 2009 season. The Huskies and Rockets have both collected a victory at IUPUI, and have both lost at Michigan State and Illinois, respectively.
Buffalo (7-9, 1-3 MAC) has lost its last three conference matches after opening MAC play with a 7-0 win over Chicago State on Feb. 21. The Bulls, who have lost seven straight overall, currently sit in fifth place of the six-team MAC standings and will close out the conference portion of their schedule Sunday.
NIU and Buffalo have both dropped 7-0 decisions to Western Michigan this season. The Bulls have received solid play from junior Kirill Kolomyts, who owns a 9-6 dual-match record while playing predominately at the No. 2 singles position.