April 27, 2006
Toledo, OH -- For the Northern Illinois University men's tennis team, Thursday's (April 27) Mid-American Conference Tournament First-Round upset was also a case of some sweet revenge.
The Huskies, seeded fifth, recorded a 4-0 triumph over No. 4 seed University at Buffalo in order to earn a berth opposite MAC powerhouse Ball State University -- ranked No. 64 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's rankings -- in Friday's 10 a.m. (EDT) semifinal. The loss prevented UB's Bulls from reaching the semifinals for a third straight year.
Tournament host University of Toledo, the No. 3 seed, also registered a 4-0 triumph over No. 6 seed Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne -- an affiliate member of the MAC for men's tennis. UT's Rockets now have a 2 p.m. Friday semifinal date with No. 2 seed Western Michigan University. Saturday's championship final is slated for 1 p.m. at UT's Varsity Tennis Courts.
"It's always nice to avenge a regular-season loss but the main thing is that regardless of any seedings, we were determined not to go home after the first day and to give ourselves a chance to make the finals. We did just that," NIU coach Pontus Hiort noted. "The big difference was that we stayed focused and did a much better job of closing out the opportunities we created to win. It started with getting the doubles point. We got them on their heels and kept them there in singles."
In contrast to the April 14 regular-season meeting in DeKalb in which Buffalo was able to pull out a 4-3 victory, the Huskies claimed two of three singles matches to start with the 1-0 lead. NIU's top combination of Brian Livingston (Skokie, IL / Niles North) and Alex Friesen (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada / Burnaby Central) once again beat UB's No. 1 duo of Octavian Stane and Yules Hadisubroto by an 8-2 tally. While the Bulls were once again able to claim the No. 2 match, at the No. 3 slot, the tandem of Diego Zegarra-Ballon (Lima, Peru / Markham College Prep) and Adam Ford (Grand Rapids, MI / Forest Hills Central) completely reversed their outcome against UB's Albert Alant and Mike Rockman. This time the 8-5 victory at No. 3 doubles went the Huskies' way for the 1-0 lead.
In singles, Northern Illinois' David Katz (Glendale, WI / Nicolet) avenged a 6-3, 6-3 loss to Buffalo's Stane by blitzing the UB No. 4 entrant by scores of 6-2, 6-1. Stepping into the No. 6 slot, Jimmy Chu (Lima, Peru / San Augustin) chalked up a 6-2, 7-5 triumph over the Bulls' Albert Alant, who had psoted a three-set victory in the earlier match in DeKalb. Locking up the Huskie victory was No. 3 entrant Adam Ford (Grand Rapids, MI / Forest Hills Central), who once again beat Buffalo's Hadisubroto, this time by a 6-2, 7-6 score.
With the match outcome determined, the other matches were left unfinished. At No. 5 singles, NIU's Zegarra-Ballon was ahead 6-3, 5-4 when play was suspended. In the No. 2 singles match, NIU's Friesen had won the opening set 6-4 and was trailing 4-5 when the second set was halted. At No. 1, the Huskies' Livingston had split the opening two sets and was down 3-1 in the third set when the match was ended.
In Thursday's other first-round action, tourney host Toledo won two doubles matches and was ahead in the third for a 1-0 lead and then claimed three more singles contests in addition to leading IPFW's Mastadons in the other three matches for the Rockets' 4-0 win. UT, now 16-9, takes on No. 2 seed Western Michigan, which boasts a 23-4 record. Ball State brings an 18-6 ledger into the semifinal match against NIU's Huskies, who sport a 5-13 ledger. BSU's Cardinals went unbeaten in league duals to claim their 19th regular-season crown.
MEN'S COLLEGIATE TENNIS -- Northern Illinois University in the Mid-American Conference Championships / NIU vs. University at Buffalo / at Toledo, OH / UT's Varsity Tennis Courts / Thursday / April 27, 2006
MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE MEN'S TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS
(at Toledo, OH / UT's Varsity Tennis Courts)
Thursday's (April 27) Results
(No. 3 seed) Toledo 4, (No. 6 seed) IPFW 0
(No. 5 seed) Northern Illinois 4, (No. 4 seed) Buffalo 0
Friday's (April 28) Semifinals
(No. 1 seed) Ball State vs. (No. 5 seed) Northern Illinois, 10 a.m. (EDT)
(No. 2 seed) Western Michigan vs. (No. 3 seed) Toledo, 2 p.m. (EDT)
Saturday's (April 29) Championship
(No. 1 seed) Ball State vs. (No. 5 seed) Northern Illinois, 1 p.m. (EDT)
NORTHERN ILLINOIS 4, BUFFALO 0
(at Toledo, OH / UT's Varsity Tennis Courts)
No. 1 -- Brian Livingston / Alex Friesen (NIU) def. Octavian Stane / Yules Hadisubroto (UB) 8-2
No. 2 -- Nikesh Singh Panthia / Matthew Kennedy (UB) def. David Katz / Jimmy Chu (NIU) 8-2
No. 3 -- Diego Zegarra-Ballon / Adam Ford (NIU) def. Albert Alant / Mike Rockman (UB) 8-5
No. 1 -- Mike Rockman (UB) led Brian Livingston (NIU) 1-6, 6-3, 3-1 (DNF)
No. 2 -- Alex Friesen (NIU) led Nikesh Singh Panthia (UB) 6-4, 4-5 (DNF)
No. 3 -- Adam Ford (NIU) def. Yules Hadisubroto (UB) 6-2, 7-6
No. 4 -- David Katz (NIU) def. Octavian Stane (UB) 6-2, 6-1
No. 5 -- Diego Zegarra-Ballon (NIU) led Matt Kennedy (UB), 6-3, 5-4 (DNF)
No. 6 -- Jimmy Chu (NIU) def. Albert Alant (UB) 6-2, 7-5
(DNF) -- Indicates Did Not Finish for a contest in which play was suspended due to the match outcome being determined
Records to Date: NIU now 6-13 / UB finishes the season 11-9
(For further information, please contact Steve Nemeth) --NIU--