March 27, 2009
EVANSTON, Ill. -- After going 1-1 in Arizona this week, No. 58 Northwestern (12-5, 0-2) heads back to Evanston for its first home duals in over a month when it hosts Michigan State (12-5, 0-2) and No. 51 Michigan (6-11, 0-2) on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, at Combe Tennis Center. Five of the 'Cats' next six matches are at home as they look to improve upon their 12-5 dual match record and pick up their first conference victories of the season.
SCOUTING THE SPARTANS
Michigan State opened its conference slate last weekend against Iowa and Minnesota, dropping both matches. Freshman Ronnie Hulewicz, playing primarily at No. 5 singles, has been solid with a team-best 14-2 record in dual play.
Last time the two teams met, MSU emerged with a 4-3 victory in East Lansing in the Wildcats' last regular season dual. Northwestern won the doubles point in that match, but failed to capitalize on the early lead and fell in the top four singles spots.
SCOUTING THE WOLVERINES
Michigan, ranked in the Top 20 early in the season, is fighting its way through a seven-match losing streak, including two losses at Minnesota and Iowa to open Big Ten play. Before facing the 'Cats on Sunday, the Wolverines will face No. 24 Wisconsin in Madison Saturday afternoon.
Michigan is led in doubles by the 18th-ranked pair of Mike Sroczynski and Jason Jung. The team of Chris Madden and Andrew Mazlin will also be dangerous as they hold an undefeated 6-0 record at No. 2.
The Wolverines hold a 63-25-1 edge in the all-time series, including a 6-1 victory in Ann Arbor in February of last year.
LAST TIME OUT
In the second match of its trip through Arizona, 58th-ranked Northwestern fell to No. 20 Arizona Wednesday afternoon in a tight battle, 4-3. The Wildcats took the doubles point with a pair of 9-7 victories and collected singles wins from freshmen Eric Spector (Northbrook, Ill./Glenbrook North) and Joshua Graves (Milwaukee, Wisconsin/Nicolet). The Wildcats had posted a 5-2 victory over Northern Arizona Monday.
The 'Cats travel to face Purdue next Friday, before returning home Saturday afternoon to host Wisconsin. That match is the first of a three-match homestand as Northwestern hosts Minnesota and Iowa the following weekend of April 11 and 12.