Men’s tennis finished a relatively disappointing year with two losses in their weekend doubleheader against No. 35 Minnesota (14-7, 7-3 Big Ten) on Friday and Wisconsin (13-11, 5-6 Big Ten) on Sunday. Northwestern (9-16, 4-7 Big Ten) ends the season on a five-game losing streak heading into the Big Ten Tournament this weekend, where Coach Swan and the team will have their work cut out for them to make a deep run into Saturday and Sunday.
For the first time all season, the Wildcats played a home game outdoors against the Golden Gophers at Vandy Christie Tennis Center right off Sheridan Road. The ‘Cats wilted in the 50-degree weather, though, as the Golden Gophers quickly took the doubles point. Jason Seidman and Nick Brookes dropped their match 4-6 against Eli Ogilvy and Matic Spec, and Chris Ephron and Antonioni Fasano lost to Marino Alpeza and Stefan Milicevic by a score of 2-6. The wind picked up as singles started, and the Gophers took complete control over the match. Nick Brookes, playing in No. 2 singles, dropped his first set in less than 20 minutes against No. 89 Spec and ended up losing the match 0-6, 3-6. Fasano and Ephron quickly dropped their matches to put Minnesota within one win of clinching the match.
The Gophers took the win after No. 85 Stefan Milisevic defeated Ben Vandixhorn 7-5, 6-0. Seidman was the only Wildcat to win a set, taking a 7-5 first set win before ultimately dropping the match 7-5, 6-7, 0-1 (5-10) against Oglivy, after almost taking the match at the second set before dropping the tiebreak 8-10.
Northwestern put up a stronger fight against Wisconsin on Sunday, before ultimately losing 5-2. In doubles, Fasano and Ephron won the first match by a 6-4 score against Lamar Remy and Chase Colton. Brookes and Seidman dropped the next match, but Wisconsin took the point after No. 7 doubles pair Chema Carranza and Josef Dodridge beat Stary and Vandixhorn, 7-6.
WHAT A DOUBLES POINT!— UW Men's Tennis (@BadgerMTennis) April 22, 2018
Wisconsin claims the team point by the hair on its chinny-chin-chin!
Carranza and Dodridge win the final set, 7-6, to keep their outstanding spring record. Their win gives UW a 1-0 lead in the overall match score!
Into singles we go!!
Northwestern began singles play with a bang. Seidman took the first match with a quick 6-2, 6-1 victory against Remy. Wisconsin responded with Osgar O’Hoisin’s 6-3, 6-2 victory over Fasano, before Northwestern tied up the match with Nick Brookes’ 6-2, 6-3 victory against No. 120 Josef Dodridge. Of all the freshmen this season, Fasano and Brookes offered the most potential, but both players played through dips and rises in form. Fasano ends his first Big Ten season on a down note after his promising start in non-conference play, while Brookes bounced back from a disastrous performance against Minnesota for a solid, straight-set win against a ranked player.
Vandixhorn, Stary and AJ Joshi both took a set, putting Northwestern on the verge of a momentum-building win before the Big Ten tournament. Both players lost down the stretch, however, as Vandixhorn lost to Chema Carranza in No. 3 singles 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Wisconsin took the win with Daniel Soyfer’s 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory against Stary in No. 1 singles. Joshi took the first set against Robert Krill but dropped the last two sets to lose 7-6, 6-7, 0-1.
THRILLER FOR THE WIN!— UW Men's Tennis (@BadgerMTennis) April 22, 2018
Daniel Soyfer battles back from down a set to win the next two — sealing the victory for the Cardinal and White.
He wins 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, beating Northwestern's No. 1 singles player, Dominik Stary. #GoBadgers
With the loss to the Badgers, Coach Swan’s squad ends the year having dropped five straight matches, without having any players who provided consistent play during both conference and non-conference play. The talent is there for the Wildcats; next year, they will look to harness it on the court for a full conference season. As Northwestern prepares for next season, getting more consistency out of Northwestern’s talented freshmen and sophomores is a must if Swan hopes to get the ‘Cats back to the NCAA tournament.