April 10, 2009
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Tied with four other teams for fourth in the Big Ten with a 3-3 conference record, No. 48 Northwestern looks to keep building its case for the NCAA tournament by welcoming No. 33 Minnesota and No. 58 Iowa to Combe Tennis Center Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Sunday’s match against Iowa will be Senior Day, honoring the accomplishments of Marc Dwyer (Peachtree City, Ga./University of Nebraska - Independent Study H.S.), Philip Kafka (Dallas, Texas/Greenhill) and Alexander Thams (Stockholm, Sweden/Enskilda Gymnasiet).
The Wildcats (15-6, 3-3) look to continue improving their conference standing after defeating both Purdue and Wisconsin by 4-3 scores last weekend. The ‘Cats are led by Alex Sanborn (Houston, Texas/Kinkaid) and Josh Graves (Milwaukee, Wis./Nicolet), each with 16 victories. NU’s last 10 matches have all been decided by scores of 5-2 or closer, including seven 4-3 decisions.
SCOUTING THE GOPHERS
Minnesota (15-5, 4-2) is alone in third place in the conference behind the undefeated squads of Ohio State and Illinois. Last weekend, the Gophers narrowly lost a 4-3 dual to the 11th- ranked Illini. Saturday's match at Combe Tennis Center is scheduled to start at noon.
The Gophers are led by Tobias Wernet, whose 15-4 mark in duals includes an upset of No. 39 Dennis Nevolo of Illinois on Sunday. No. 60 Ishay Hadash plays in the top single spot for the Gophers, but lost his most recent match to fall to 17-9 on the season.
Dino Bilankov, 7-3 in his last 10 matches, is playing well for the Gophers after a slow start due to injury. Michael Sicora has been on a roll with wins in eight of his last 10 matches to give him an 18-7 overall mark.
SCOUTING THE HAWKEYES
No. 58 Iowa (11-5, 3-3) is one of the other teams tied for fourth in the conference with a 3-3 record. They will face Wisconsin Saturday afternoon before heading to Evanston for Sunday’s noon dual.
Senior Christian Bierich, winner of the Big Ten Singles Championship last fall, leads the Hawkeyes at No. 1 singles. Will Vasos holds down the No. 4 spot for Iowa with a 10-6 record.
Northwestern leads the all-time series 54-24 over the Hawkeyes.
LAST TIME OUT
A come-from-behind three-set win by captain Alex Sanborn propelled No. 58 Northwestern to a 4-3 victory over then No. 24 Wisconsin Saturday evening at Combe Tennis Center. The Wildcats improved to 3-3 in conference play with the win after splitting the six singles matches and winning the crucial doubles point.
NU jumped out to an early lead behind strong doubles play at every position. The tandem of Andrew McCarthy (Cincinnati, Ohio/Indian Hills) and Alexander Thams improved to 13-3 with their win at No. 3.