April 26, 2007
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Eighth-seeded Northwestern swept doubles and took three of the first four singles matches to top ninth-seeded Michigan State in the first round of the Big Ten Championship, 4-1. Sophomore Marc Dwyer (Peachtree City, Ga./Univ. of Nebraska-Independent Study) took the clincher at No. 3. The 'Cats face top-seeded and third-ranked Ohio State in the second round at 9 a.m. CT Friday.
Northwestern improves to 10-13 overall while Michigan State falls to 11-16.
NU took doubles matches at No. 2 and No. 3 to take the first point of the dual. At No. 3, junior Juan Gomez (Mexico City, Mexico) and senior Christian Tempke (Wentorf, Germany/Gymnasium LobrÜgge) dominated Tyler Sauerbrey and Britton Steele, 8-0.
Michigan State took the No. 1 doubles match when Nick Rinks and John Allare downed Alex Sanborn (Houston, Texas/Kinkaid) and Dwyer, 8-4.
The Wildcats took the clinching doubles match at No. 2 where seniors Willy Lock (Lima, Peru/Markham College) and Matt Christian (Troy, Mich./Brother Rice) defeated Michael Flowers and Alex Forger, 8-6.
"As expected, State was a much different team with Nick Rinks back," head coach Paul Torricelli said. "I thought we did a great job of competing to win the doubles point. It was a real battle at No. 2 and Matt and Willy came through to clinch the doubles point."
The Wildcats got on top of the Spartans early in singles, taking first sets in all but the top two spots. Sanborn, playing at No. 5, was the first to finish with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Steele.
MSU closed to 2-1 with a win at No. 1 singles. Rinks, who did not play when the 'Cats downed the Spartans last Sunday, defeated Lock, 6-4, 6-2. It proved to be the last point Michigan State would score in the dual.
Christian needed a first-set tiebreaker to take the first frame of his match against Scott Rasmussen, 7-6, but the senior blanked the Spartan 6-0 in the second set to give the 'Cats a 3-1 lead.
The clincher came at No. 3 where Dwyer defeated Allare in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3.
"Singles was much closer than the scores would indicate," Torricelli said. "Dwyer played some of his best tennis of the year to win the deciding point. Matt was down 6-0 in the first set tiebreak and won seven-straight points before eventually winning it. that really kept the momentum going our way."
Once the dual was clinched, the matches at No. 2 with Tempke, and No. 6 with Alexey Evstratenkov (Moscow, Russia/Moscow International Gymnasia) were left unfinished.
The 'Cats face top-seeded Ohio State at 8 a.m. CT Friday, at the Schwartz Tennis Center.
For live scoring and tournament information, visit the Big Ten Championship Homepage