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    'Cats Set For First Big Ten Road Trip to Purdue and No. 8 Illinois

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Seniors Willy Lock (left) and Christian Tempke.
    Seniors Willy Lock (left) and Christian Tempke.

    March 28, 2007

    EVANSTON, Ill. -- After a spring break trip to Orange Beach, Ala., the Wildcats are set to return to Big Ten action with road contests at Purdue and Illinois. Northwestern (6-9, 1-2), playing its first Big Ten road matches, takes on the Boilermakers (8-5, 1-2) at 4 p.m. Friday before facing the eighth-ranked Illini (10-4, 3-0) at 1 p.m. Saturday.

    Senior Christian Tempke (Wentorf, Germany/Gymnasium LohbrÜgge) is ranked 97th in singles and the pair of Willy Lock (Lima, Peru/Markham College) and Matt Christian (Troy, Mich./Brother Rice) are the nation's 54th-ranked doubles tandem. The 'Cats, ranked 60th in the latest ITA poll, downed Wisconsin, 4-3, in their last Big Ten dual.

    Torch's Take
    "It's a challenge any time you go on the road and this weekend will be a perfect example," head coach Paul Torricelli said. "Purdue has a new facility and a significant home court advantage and Illinois is ranked in the Top 10 and remanins a formidible opponent."

    This will be a real test for us after a relatively long layoff this month," Torricelli said. "I know the guys are excited to get after the remainder of the conference season. It's crunch time for us."

    Scouting the Boilermakers
    Purdue sits at 1-2 in the Big Ten and 8-5 overall. Branko Kuzmanovic owns a 2-1 conference record and has split time in the top two singles spots. He is 4-2 at No. 1 this season and 6-1 at No. 2. As a team, the Boilermakers are 6-12 in Big Ten singles matches and 2-7 in doubles.

    Scouting the Illini
    Illinois enters the weekend ranked eighth in the nation and owns a 10-4 record with a perfect 3-0 mark in conference. The Illini are led in singles by sixth-ranked Kevin Anderson and 12th-ranked Ryan Rowe. In doubles, defending national champions Rowe and Anderson have teamed up for Big Ten play and are 7-1 overall at the No. 1 spot.

    Last Time Out
    Northwestern took the doubles point from No. 18 South Alabama, but the Jaguars took five singles matches to top the Wildcats last Friday in Orange Beach, Ala., 5-2. Sophomore Marc Dwyer (Peachtree City, Ga./University of Nebraska-Independent Study H.S.) won his match at No. 4 singles.

    The 'Cats captured the doubles point with wins at No. 1 and No. 3 doubles. The 54th-ranked pair of seniors Christian and Lock downed Robert Hodel and Marek Sramek at No. 1, 8-5. Tempke and junior Juan Gomez (Mexico City, Mexico) won their match at No. 3 over Craig Dunne and Jack Baker, 8-5.

    South Alabama won 5-of-6 singles matches with NU's lone win coming at No. 4 where Dwyer defeated Hodel in straight sets, 7-6, 6-1.