The Northern Illinois men’s tennis team completed its four-match spring break trip to Florida on Tuesday.
The Huskies went 4-0 on the trip, defeating Siena, Weber International, Oklahoma Baptist and Youngstown State, to improve to 8-8 on the season. NIU was originally scheduled to play just one match on its Florida trip but picked up three additional matches upon its arrival in the Sunshine State.
In their first outdoor match of the season against Siena on Monday, the Huskies cruised to a 6-1 victory, winning the doubles points and the first five flights of singles matches.
“Considering these two matches were our first outdoor matches of the year and we had one outdoor practice before today we struggled, but we found a way to pull through,” said NIU head coach Patrick Fisher. “We experienced a little fatigue in our second match, but that is how we get better pushing ourselves to the limit. Playing this type of schedule with such a young team is only going to make us better, and we are getting better.”
Maksym Bartiuk and Maksym Lagutin teamed up for an 8-4 victory at first doubles while the duo of Maximilian Phillips and Bryant Poggensee-Wei claimed an 8-3 victory at number three. Axel Lagerlof and Roman Turtygin completed the double sweep for NIU with a 9-8 (5) victory at number two.
In singles play, all five Huskie wins came in straight sets. Lagerlof earned his ninth win of the season while dropping just two games at number three winning, 6-2, 6-0. Turtygin and Phillips each claimed 6-1, 6-2 victories, Turtygin’s victory came in flight two while Phillips picked up his victory in flight five.
At number one, Bartiuk won his eighth match of the season 6-4, 6-0 over Mike Amico while Lagutin was a 6-2, 6-2 winner at number four over Dylan Roberts.
NIU defeated Weber International, 5-2, in its second match on Monday.
The Huskies once again swept the double points as Bartiuk and Lagutin led the way with a convincing 8-2 victory at number one for their fourth win of the season. Both of the other doubles matches were closer as Lagerlof and Turtygin claimed an 8-6 victory at number two while Phillips and Poggensee-Wei edged out Joonas Jalkanen and Pedro De Angeli, 9-7.
Bartiuk, Lagerlof and Turtygin all earned comfortable straight-set singles victories. Bartiuk was a 6-3, 6-0 winner at number one, Lagerlof was victorious 6-2, 6-2 at flight two and Turtygin took his match at flight three, 6-2, 6-1.
Phillips claimed a three-set win in flight five to cap the day for the Huskies. Phillips took the first set 6-2 before dropping the second set to Jalkanen, 3-6. In the third set super-tiebreaker, Phillips won 10-4 for his sixth win of the year.
The Huskies opened Tuesday play with a 7-0 sweep over Oklahoma Baptist.
Lagerlof and Turtygin won their fourth-straight double match at number two while Phillips and Poggensee-Wei clinched the doubles point with a victory at number three.
In singles, Turtygin rolled to a 6-0, 6-1 victory playing at number three and Phillips recorded an easy 6-2, 6-0 victory in flight five. Also winning comfortably were Bartiuk at flight one (6-3, 6-0) and Lagutin at number four (6-1, 6-2).
Lagerlof raced to a 6-1 first set win over Dario Maconovic in flight two but was pushed to the limit in the second set before prevailing 7-5. Poggensee-Wei completed the sweep with a three-set victory at number six. The Grayslake, Ill.-native took the first set 6-1, then fell in the second set, 3-6, but earned an 11-9 win in the third set super-tiebreaker to claim his first win of the trip.
NIU completed play on Tuesday against Youngstown State in its regularly scheduled match of the trip, defeating the Penguins 6-1.
Bartiuk and Lagutin were 8-6 winners in flight one doubles, Lagerlof and Turtygin took number two doubles 8-1 and Phillips and Poggensee-Wei received a default win at number three.
Singles provided the toughest test of the two days for the Huskies, but NIU still prevailed in four of five matches. Bartiuk won 6-2, 6-3 at number one, completing a perfect 4-0 week in Florida. Turtygin also won for the fourth time with a 6-2, 6-4 victory in flight three.
Lagerlof improved to 4-0 on the trip, 12-4 on the season, with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Felipe Rosa a number two and Phillips won a tight first set, 7-6, and took care of his second set 6-3 to also win for the fourth time in Florida.
“Today was a really good day for our guys,” said Fisher. “We played much better than we did yesterday. Our young team is really coming along nicely I could not be more happy. This group has worked so hard to get to this point and the results are starting to come, but they know they are capable of achieving even more.”
After returning from Florida, the Huskies next match is scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 23, when they travel to Peoria, Ill., to face Bradley.
For more information on NIU men’s tennis and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.