After dropping the doubles point, the Northern Illinois men’s tennis team (12-5) rallied back in singles play Sunday afternoon at Southern Illinois (8-3) to defeat the Salukis, 4-3.
The win was the Huskies fourth-consecutive triumph and was NIU’s final non-conference match before a pair of Mid-American Conference showdowns with perennial championship contenders Ball State and Western Michigan.
“I’m just really proud of our guys. This team has great character and it showed today,” said head coach Patrick Fisher. “We needed the bottom half of our lineup to step up and they did that. This team is very capable and today we stepped up. I think the guy’s should see this as a step forward for us.”
The Huskies and the Salukis were in a proverbial dog fight during doubles play with the teams keeping it close with each other. Both of NIU’s doubles pairs fell 8-6 in the match, allowing Southern Illinois to take an early 1-0 lead.
After an intermission, the Huskies rallied back in singles with wins at the top and at the bottom of the lineup in straight sets. No. 1 Dor Amir battled Brandon Florez and defeated the Saluki, 7-6, 6-4, while Frederic Cadieux won at No. 2 versus Jorge Cavero, 6-4, 6-4.
Senior Max Phillips regained his form at No. 4 after rehab matches over spring break by defeating Rafael Cuadrillero, 6-4, 6-4, while Simon Formont defeated John Rigby, 6-3, 6-2, at No. 5. The Huskies improved to 12-5 with the win.
Northern Illinois will return to action Friday, March 29, for a Mid-American Conference match versus Western Michigan. It will be the Huskies final home contest of the season and will likely be played at the Boylan Tennis Center in Rockford because of likely inclement weather in DeKalb.
For more information on NIU men’s tennis and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.