Feb. 13, 2010
EVANSTON, Ill. -- No. 38 Northwestern began Saturday's match against No. 57 Middle Tennessee State with the desire to maintain its unblemished 5-0 record at home, while the Blue Raiders looked to avenge last year's defeat to NU. MTSU came storming out of the gates with a 3-1 lead, but NU responded to tie the match at three and received a decisive win at No. 3 singles by freshman Spencer Wolf (Coral Springs, Fla./Laurel Springs), who rallied and won 7-5 in the third set to ensure a 4-3 Northwestern victory.
Middle Tennessee State proved they came to play, as they stormed to a quick lead in doubles action. Although the NU No. 1 doubles team of Joshua Graves
(Milwaukee, Wis./Nicolet) and Alex Sanborn
(Houston, Texas/Kinkaid) was able to take their match 9-8 (6), MTSU secured 8-5 victories on the No. 2 and No. 3 doubles courts.
The `Cats would not be undone by the slow start, however. Freshman Mark Schanerman (N. Miami Beach, Fla./Dr. Michael M. Krop HS) made quick work of his opponent at No. 6 singles, earning the `Cats' first point of the match after a 6-1, 6-2 win.
The Blue Raiders answered back, taking a point off the No. 2 singles court. With junior Andrew McCarthy (Cincinnati, Ohio/Indian Hill) still unavailable, freshman Sidarth Balaji (Fairfax, Va./Fairfax) stepped up to fill the void. Although Balaji foght back to 3-3 in the second set, he was not able to best his rival, losing in straight sets.
The action on the No. 1 singles court drew to a close shortly thereafter. Although No. 105 John Peers of MTSU proved the eventual winner, Graves barely missed taking the first set (7-5). The point from No. 1 singles afforded the Blue Raiders a 3-1 advantage with three more matches still underway.
Sanborn kept the `Cats alive with his comfortable 6-4, 6-2 advantage at No. 4 singles. Starting ahead 4-0 in the first set, it looked as though the match might go to a third set after MTSU's Matthew Langley took a 2-0 lead in set two. However, six straight games from Sanborn brought his match to a close, and the attention to the final two matches.
Things looked grim for sophomore Eric Spector (Northbrook, Ill./Glenbrook North) in the first set, as he trailed 5-2. He would not be denied, though, and scavenged five wins in five straight games. The second set had similar ominous beginnings, but Spector maintained his cool on the way to another come from behind victory (6-4).
The match now tied 3-3, everything came down to Wolf and the No. 3 singles outcome. Although he could have folded after losing the first set 6-3, Wolf employed his booming serve to battle for the 6-4 win in the second set.
With his teammates lining the court, and fans crowding around above him, Wolf served first in set number three. After four games, neither competitor could break serve, resulting in a 2-2 tie. MTSU's Richard Cowden was able to steal the next game from Wolf, only to have the Wildcat rally from behind in the next game to break serve.
A swing and a miss off of a blistering forehand from Wolf moved the match to 4-3. However, Cowden would not go down easily, as the pair battled to a 5-5 stalemate. Once again, Wolf turned to his explosive serve to deliver the next victory, moving ahead in the set 6-5. Cowden was unable to hold his own serve during the final game, as Wolf finally managed to walk away with a 7-5 edge and a Northwestern win.
The `Cats move to 6-3 on the season, while the Blue Raiders fall to 0-6. Northwestern next travels to the East Coast to face Princeton on Feb. 27. The match is set to begin at 9 a.m.
No. 38 Northwestern 4, No. 57 Middle Tennessee State 3
1: No. 105 John Peers (MTSU) def. Joshua Graves (NU), 7-5, 6-2
2: Victor Melo (MTSU) def. Sidarth Balaji (NU), 6-2, 6-4
3: Spencer Wolf (NU) def. Richard Cowden (MTSU), 3-6, 6-4, 7-5
4: Alex Sanborn (NU) def. Matthew Langley (MTSU), 6-4, 6-2
5: Eric Spector (NU) def. Shaun Waters (MTSU), 7-5, 6-4
6. Mark Schanerman (NU) def. Alex McCann (MTSU), 6-1, 6-2
1: Graves/Sanborn (NU) def. Peers/Wishing (MTSU), 9-8 (6)
2: Langley/Melo (MTSU) def. Reitz/Wolf (NU), 8-5
3: Cowden/Waters (MTSU) def. Balaji/Spector (NU) 8-5
Order of Finish
Singles: (6, 2, 1, 4, 5, 3*)
Doubles: (3, 2*, 1)