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Historic men’s tennis season ends in NCAA Regionals

Historic men’s tennis season ends in NCAA Regionals
(Daily file photo by Daniel Tian)

Northwestern couldn’t shake Stanford on Sunday, losing in the NCAA Regionals 4-3 as it’s historic season came to a close.

All eyes at the Vandy Christie Tennis Center turned to junior Konrad Zieba’s match with Tom Fawcett as the deciding match. Zieba came back from a 5-1 deficit in the first set, winning 7-5, but was shutout in the second set. An intense third set ensued, as Zieba saved multiple match points, but unfortunately for the Wildcats Fawcett prevailed as Stanford advanced.

The match began with NU capturing a dramatic doubles point. After the Cats won at No. 2 doubles and lost at No. 3, it all was up to the team of senior Fedor Baev and junior Strong Kirchheimer. Kirchheimer was broken serving for the set, but the duo managed to break back after winning a marathon point to win the set 7-5. NU had only lost once after winning the doubles point going into the match.

Singles play began poorly for the Cats as the fell behind in a number of matches as Baev and freshman Ben Vandixhorn lost in straight sets to put the team behind 2-1.

The match drew even when junior Strong Kirchheimer continued his domination of No. 3 singles with a 6-0, 6-4 win.

After junior Sam Shropshire won his match, junior Alp Horoz gave up a lead in the second set to fall 6-4, 6-4 and leave the match at 3 points apiece.

Zieba’s singles match was the last to conclude. NU ended arguably their best season ever with a 26-5 record.

Northwestern advances to second round of NCAA Tournament with win over Valparaiso

Northwestern advances to second round of NCAA Tournament with win over Valparaiso
(Daily file photo by Daniel Tian)

Northwestern defeated a feisty Valparaiso team 4-1 Saturday to advance a round of 32 NCAA Tournament matchup with Stanford.

The match began well for NU when it won the doubles point with victories at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles. This has become a trend for the Cats as juniors Konrad Zieba and Sam Shropshire and junior Alp Horoz and senior Mihir Kumar have winning streak of four and six matches, respectively.

NU got off to a strong start in singles when they won 5-of-6 first sets. Shropshire quickly took care of business and won 6-3, 6-2 to give the Cats a 2-0 lead.

Senior Fedor Baev got off to a shaky start in his match, but even after he regained his form in the second set, his opponent’s excellent serving was too much and caused Baev to fall 6-2, 7-5.

After cruising in the first set, Kirchheimer found himself down 5-3 in the second and forced to break serve to avoid a third set. After doing so, he reeled off four straight games to win the match, his 13th in a row.

Two of the three remaining matches went to third sets and freshman Ben Vandixhorn secured the final point with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory.

On Sunday, the Cats will host No. 29 Stanford with their first berth in the round of 16 since 1997 on the line.

Morning Roundup: May 13, 2016

by Max Gelman 0 Comments
Morning Roundup: May 13, 2016
(Daily file photo by Daniel Tian)

In the next installment of our Curtain Call series profiling Northwestern seniors, Benjy Apelbaum takes a look at men’s tennis senior Fedor Baev and his time with the Wildcats. Additionally, we have some weekend previews on tap…

  • Claire Hansen takes a look at the lacrosse team’s opening round game for the NCAA Tournament.
  • Garrett Jochnau writes about the men’s tennis team attempting to advance past the NCAA Regionals for the first time in a while.
  • Robbie Markus describes a women’s tennis team hungry for more success in their own NCAA Regional match after a solid Big Ten season.
  • Ben Pope highlights Senior Day festivities for the baseball team in their final home series against Cal.

And here’s a look at Friday’s back page:

051316DNUp12

Men’s tennis eliminated from Big Ten tournament by in-state rival Illinois

Men’s tennis eliminated from Big Ten tournament by in-state rival Illinois
(Daily file photo by Leeks Lim)

By Benjy Apelbaum

Northwestern and Illinois played their third nail-biting match of the year in the Big Ten semifinals, but this time the Wildcats came out on the wrong end.

The No. 13 Cats fell to the No. 17 Fighting Illini 4-3 in the teams’ third meeting of the season. 

NU got off to a good start Saturday by winning the doubles point as they had in their earlier victory. Juniors Sam Shropshire and Konrad Zieba quickly won at No. 2 doubles 6-0, and the pair of junior Alp Horoz and senior Mihir Kumar won in tiebreaker 7-6 (1) at No. 3.

Freshman Ben Vandixhorn, the winner of the clinching match in the previous match against Illinois, won 6-1, 7-5 to put the Cats up 2-0. Zieba then lost to the No. 4 player in the country, Aleks Vukic, by a score of 6-2, 3-6, 6-2, Zieba’s third loss to Vukic in three sets this year.

Senior Fedor Baev also lost for the third time this year to Julian Childers, 7-5, 6-3, tying the match at 2. Then junior Strong Kirchheimer avenged his only loss of the dual season thus far with a 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 win over Aron Hiltzik to put the Cats one match from the finals. 

However, the team’s repeatedly-state goal of winning a Big Ten championship would not come as Shropshire and Horoz both followed with losses in tight three set matches.

NU will now prepare for the NCAA tournament, which starts in two weeks. The top-16 teams in the nation get to host a Regional Championship match, but with the No. 13 ranking, the Cats sit on edge of that mark heading into the tournament. 

Full results from Saturday’s loss: