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    Northwestern Narrowly Edged By Vanderbilt, 4-3

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Spencer Wolf improved to 6-2 with a win Sunday.
    Spencer Wolf improved to 6-2 with a win Sunday.

    Feb. 12, 2012


    Site: Nashville, Tenn. (Currey Tennis Center)
    Score: No. 43 Vanderbilt 4, No. 64 Northwestern 3
    Records: NU (6-2, 0-0 Big Ten), Vanderbilt (4-3, 0-0 SEC)
    Next NU Event: Saturday, Feb. 18 -- vs. New Mexico (Combe Tennis Center), 11 a.m.

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- In one of its closest matches of the season date, Northwestern went down to the wire with No. 43 Vanderbilt before falling 4-3 at the Currey Tennis Center in Nashville, Tenn. The Wildcats won the doubles point Sunday, but the Commodores claimed four of six singles matches to secure the victory.

    For the eighth time this season Northwestern (6-2) got off to great start by winning the doubles point from the Commodores (4-3). The 'Cats won the first doubles match of the day behind the young duo of Raleigh Smith (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) and Alex Pasareanu (Bluffton, S.C./Heritage Academy). Smith and Pasareanu defeated Vandy's Charlie Jones and Jeff Offerdahl, 8-5.

    The `Dores knotted things up with a convincing win at No. 1 doubles where Gonzalez Austin and Blake Bazarnik got the best of NU's Josh Graves (Milwaukee, Wis./Nicolet) and Spencer Wolf (Coral Springs, Fla./Laurel Springs), 8-2. That meant that the doubles point would hinge on the matchup at No. 3 between the Wildcats' Chris Jackman (Key Biscayne, Fla./Gulliver Prep) and his partner Sidarth Balaji (Fairfax, Va./Fairfax) against Alex DiValerio and Joe Dorn.

    Playing together for the second straight match, Jackman and Balaji played well and rewarded their team with a 9-8 triumph to win the match and clinch the point, giving Northwestern a 1-0 advantage heading into singles play.



    Swan shuffled his singles lineup by elevating Graves to the top line for just the second time this season and inserting Balaji into the No. 2 position. The rest of the squad remained unchanged as Wolf, Smith, Pasareanu and Nikhil Jayashankar (Saratoga, Calif./Saratoga) rounded out the top six.

    Austin quickly evened the team score for Vanderbilt by beating Balaji in straight sets at No. 2, 6-3, 6-3. Pasareanu put the 'Cats back on top shortly thereafter, however, with a smooth run over Dorn at No. 5, 6-3, 6-0. Playing at No. 1 for the first time since January 15 against UIC, Graves was beaten by Jones, who is ranked No. 87 by the ITA, in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3.

    The back-and-forth action continued as Wolf (No. 97) bested Bzarnik, 6-3, 6-4, but Anton Kovrigin evened things up yet again with a three-set win over Smith. The Commodore won the first set, 6-4, before Smith took the second, 6-3. Kovrigin won the third, however, to tie the overall score at 3-3 by a tally of 6-1.

    As was the case in doubles, the overall outcome of the match hinged on the winner of final pairing of the day at No. 6 singles between Jayashankar and Offerdahl. Offerdahl was able to withstand the young Wildcat's persistence to win in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3.

    The Wildcats will return to Combe Tennis Center on Saturday, Feb. 18 when they host New Mexico on ITA Campus Kids' Day. These specially designated matches are designed to expose aspiring junior players, along with their parents and coaches to collegiate tennis. Admission is free and unique promotional activities are planned throughout the day.

    1. Gonzalez Austin/Blake Bazarnik (VU) def. Josh Graves/Spencer Wolf (NU) - 8-2
    2. Raleigh Smith/Alex Pasareanu (NU) def. Charlie Jones/Jeff Offerdahl (VU) - 8-5
    3. Chris Jackman/Sidarth Balaji (NU) def. Alex DiValerio/Joe Dorn (VU) - 9-8
    Order of finish: 2, 1, 3*

    1. Charlie Jones (VU) def. Josh Graves (NU)- 6-2, 6-3
    2. Gonzalez Austin (VU) def. Sidarth Balaji (NU) - 6-3, 6-3
    3. Spencer Wolf (NU) def. Blake Bazarnik (VU) - 6-3, 6-4
    4. Anton Kovrigin (VU) def. Raleigh Smith (NU) - 6-4, 3-6, 6-1
    5. Alex Pasareanu (NU) def. Joe Dorn (VU) - 6-3, 6-0
    6. Jeff Offerdahl (VU) def. Nikhil Jayashankar (NU) - 6-4, 6-3
    Order of finish: 2, 5, 1, 3, 4, 6*


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