Feb. 4, 2011
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Combe Tennis Center)
Score: No. 60 Northwestern 5, Middle Tennessee State 2
Records: NU (4-0, 0-0 Big Ten), Middle Tennessee State (3-1, 0-0 Sun Belt)
Next NU Event: Saturday, Feb. 5 vs. No. 73 Princeton Evanston 5 p.m.
EVANSTON, Ill. -- No. 60 Northwestern and Middle Tennessee State both came into Friday night's match looking to improve on perfect 3-0 records. Although the match was tight throughout, sophomore Chris Jackman came back from one set down at No. 6 singles to clinch the Wildcats' 5-2 win, its third straight victory over the Blue Raiders.
"Middle Tennessee State is a consistently strong program and we always find ourselves in close matches against them," said head coach Arvid Swan. "Chris has been playing well lately and he showed some great resiliency in his match to help us get the win. We'll have another tough test tomorrow so it was good for the guys to pull this one out."
Strong doubles play set the tone early for the Wildcats, with all three pairs scoring key breaks to go up 4-1. An ace from junior Joshua Graves capped off an 8-2 win for Graves and sophomore Spencer Wolf at No. 1 doubles, while junior Eric Spector and sophomore Chris Jackman secured the doubles team point for NU with an 8-4 victory at No. 3.
Senior Andrew McCarthy and junior Tobias Reitz dropped the first game at No. 2, but were almost perfect throughout the rest of their 8-2 win.
Graves continued his stellar play on the singles court, overwhelming Shaun Waters at No. 1 for an easy 6-0, 6-0 win. However, the Blue Raiders quickly responded with a victory at No. 3 singles to close the Wildcats' lead to 2-1.
Senior Andrew McCarthy showed his experience at No. 4 singles, countering every run his opponent made with big serves and strong net play to give NU their third point. McCarthy earned a clutch break to go up 4-3 in the second set, which proved to be the difference-maker in his 6-2, 6-3 win.
Although it seemed like the `Cats were in the driver's seat, Middle Tennessee fought back once again. Blue Raider Joseph Cohen came out a winner at No. 5 over freshman Raleigh Smith in a match much closer than the 6-3, 6-1 final indicates.
With the score 3-2 in favor of Northwestern, things got interesting when Wolf dropped a tight second-set tiebreaker at No. 2 to force a third set with Matthew Langley. Sophomore Chris Jackman had just split his first two sets with Dimitri Poppas at No. 6, so everything was riding on these last two matches on court.
As fans cheered for the action on side-by-side courts, Jackman opened his third set with a break, yet Poppas was able to break right back. The duo remained on serve until Jackman broke at 5-5 to give himself a chance to serve for the match. The sophomore capitalized on the opportunity, clinching the match for the Wildcats with his come-from-behind 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 victory.
With the dual victory in hand, Wolf used a late break to pull away in the third set and cement a 6-2, 6-7 (6), 6-3 win, bringing the final team margin to 5-2.
Northwestern returns to action tomorrow, Saturday, when the Wildcats host No. 73 Princeton at 5 p.m. in the Combe Tennis Center in Evanston. The event also will be the site of ITA Campus Kids Day, with free pizza for all fans and a serving contest at intermission. Admission to all NU men's tennis matches is free.
No. 60 Northwestern 5, Middle Tennessee State 2
1: Joshua Graves (NU) def. Shaun Waters (MT), 6-0, 6-0
2: Spencer Wolf (NU) def. Matthew Langley (MT), 6-2, 6-7 (6), 6-3
3: Ben Davis (MT) def. Tobias Reitz (NU), 6-0, 6-3
4: Andrew McCarthy (NU) def. Elliot Barnwell (MT), 6-2, 6-3
5: Joseph Cohen (MT) def. Raleigh Smith (NU), 6-3, 6-1
6: Chris Jackman (NU) def. Dimitri Pippos (MT), 3-6, 6-3, 7-5
1: Graves/Wolf (NU) def. Waters/Davis (MT), 8-2
2: McCarthy/Reitz (NU) def. Cohen/Barnwell (MT), 8-2
3: Jackman/Spector (NU) def. Pippos/Langley (MT), 8-4
Order of Finish:
Singles (1, 3, 4, 5, 6*, 2)
Doubles (1, 3*, 2)
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