Feb. 3, 2006
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern's 55th-ranked men's tennis team returns home from its East Coast road swing this weekend to face No. 41 Harvard at noon Sunday, Feb. 5 at the Combe Tennis Center. The match, which was originally scheduled for 1 p.m., will be the Wildcats' fourth-consecutive dual versus a ranked opponent.
"This is an extremely important match for us," head coach Paul Torricelli said. "We're really looking forward to playing Harvard. I think we will match up tough after our January schedule and our guys will be ready to go."
The 'Cats enter Sunday's match after dropping a pair of duals last weekend. Northwestern fell to No. 31 North Carolina Friday, 5-2, before dropping its match to No. 15 Wake Forest Sunday, 5-2.
While Northwestern didn't earn wins, the big story for the 'Cats was the stellar play of Christian Tempke (Wentorf, Germany/Gymnasium Lohbrügge) and Willy Lock (Lima, Peru/Markham College).
Tempke went 2-0 on the weekend at No. 1 singles, topping two top-15 opponents in North Carolina's fifth-ranked Raian Luchici and Wake Forest's 11th-ranked Todd Paul. Tempke, alongside Marc Dwyer (Peachtree City, Ga./University of Nebraska-Independent Study H.S.), also helped Northwestern to its lone doubles win versus the Tarheels. For his performance on the weekend, Tempke was tabbed Big Ten Athlete of the Week.
Lock came through with two singles wins as well, beating UNC's Brad Pomeroy and Wake Forest's 35th-ranked Andrew Hamar in straight sets at No. 2 singles.
Harvard enters the match after kicking off its spring action at the University of South Florida Invitational last weekend. The Crimson dropped both of their matches in the tournament, falling to South Florida and Kentucky.
Harvard's top returning player is sophomore Ashwin Kumar, the 2005 Ivy League Freshman of the Year, whose rookie season took him to the semifinals of the NCAA doubles bracket.
Kumar and freshman Sasha Ermakov combine to lead the Crimson in doubles play, notching a No. 15 national ranking.
Harvard has won the Ivy League team title two of the last three years, finishing runner-up in 2005.