Feb. 10, 2012
Site: Nashville, Tenn. (Nashboro Village Athletic Club)
Score: No. 64 Northwestern 6, Middle Tennessee State 1
Records: NU (6-1, 0-0 Big Ten), Middle Tennessee State (2-3, 0-0 Sun Belt)
Next NU Event: Sunday, Feb. 12 -- at No. 43 Vanderbilt (Nashville, Tenn.), 1 p.m.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Northwestern's men's tennis team continued its winning ways away from home Friday with a 6-1 victory over the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders at Nashboro Village Athletic Club in Nashville, Tenn.
With the win, the 'Cats (6-1, 0-0 Big Ten) improved to 4-0 all-time against the Blue Raiders. The Wildcats are winners of six of their first seven matches in 2012. This is the first time NU has won their first two road matches of the season for the first time since January 2004 when they defeated Weber State and Utah in Salt Lake City to kick off the campaign.
"I'm happy with the way the guys responded and raised their play today after Tuesday's setback against Notre Dame," said Northwestern head coach Arvid Swan. "We had a lot of bright spots up and down the lineup and we'll look to keep that going again against a very tough Vanderbilt team on Sunday."
For the sixth time in seven matches this season Northwestern won the doubles point to set the tone for the remainder of the match. The first win came from the No. 3 spot where Sidarth Balaji (Fairfax, Va./Fairfax) and Chris Jackman (Key Biscayne, Fla./Gulliver Prep) teamed up for the first time this season. Balaji and Jackman cruised past Ettore Zito and Dimitri Pippos, 8-1.
The formidable tandem of Raleigh Smith (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) and Alex Pasareanu (Bluffton, S.C./Heritage Academy) paired up to secure the doubles point with an 8-4 win over MTSU's Marlon Brand at No. 2 doubles. NU's top duo of Spencer Wolf (Coral Springs, Fla./Laurel Springs) and Josh Graves (Milwaukee, Wis./Nicolet) completed the doubles sweep with an 8-6 win of their own against the Blue Raiders' Ben Davis and Christoph Lang.
Smith remained undefeated in singles play, as he was the first to wrap up a victory against Lang. The Wildcats' sophomore won in straight sets, 6-1, 6-1 at No. 4 to improve to 7-0 on the young season. Wolf, who entered play ranked No. 97 by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), put the 'Cats up 3-0 with a win at the third singles slot against Zito. Like Smith, Wolf won in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2.
Shortly after Wolf's triumph, Davis earned Middle Tennessee State's first point of the afternoon when Davis knocked Balaji, 6-2, 6-1.
After claiming the first set in the No. 2 singles match, Graves engaged in a lengthy battle with MTSU's Matthew Langley in the second set. NU's lone senior in the lineup Friday rallied from behind to win the second set, 7-6 (8), to secure the match-clinching point for the visitors.
In the afternoon's final two singles matches, Pasareanu took on Forrest Edwards at No. 5, while freshman Nikhil Jayashankar faced Brown at the No.6 spot. Pasareanu was blanked in the first set, 6-0, before charging back to win the second, 7-6. He completed the comeback by winning the superbreaker, 11-9. Jayashankar won his opening set against Born, 6-4, and came from behind to win a hard fought second frame, 7-6 (3).
Northwestern will wrap up its brief two-match swing through the Music City on Sunday with tilt against No. 43 Vanderbilt at the Brownlee O. Currey Jr. Tennis Center. The first serve between the Wildcats and Commodores is scheduled for 1 p.m. NU lost a tight match to then-No. 28 Vandy last season at Combe Tennis Center in Evanston, Ill., 4-3.
1. Spencer Wolf/Josh Graves (NU) def. Ben Davis/Christoph Lang (MTSU) - 8-6
2. Raleigh Smith/Alex Pasareanu (NU) def. Marlon Brand/Yannick Brown (MTSU) - 8-4
3. Sidarth Balaji/Chris Jackman (NU) def. Ettore Zito/Dimitri Pippos (MTSU) - 8-1
Order of finish: 3, 2*, 1
1. Ben Davis (MSTU) def. Sidarth Balaji (NU) - 6-2, 6-1
2. Josh Graves (NU) def. Matthew Langley (MSTU) - 6-4, 7-6 (10-8)
3. No. 97 Spencer Wolf (NU) def. Ettore Zito (MTSU) - 6-1, 6-2
4. Raleigh Smith (NU) def. Christoph Lang (MTSU) - 6-1, 6-1
5. Alex Pasareanu (NU) def. Forrest Edwards (MTSU) - 0-6, 7-6 (7-3), 1-0 (11-9)
6. Nikhil Jayashankar (NU) def. Yannick Born (MTSU) - 6-4, 7-6 (7-3)
Order of finish: 4, 3, 1, 2*, 6, 5
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