April 26, 2007
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The No. 9-seeded Michigan State men's tennis team lost in the first round of the Big Ten Championship to No. 8 Northwestern, 4-1, on Thursday morning at the Schwartz Tennis Center in West Lafayette, Ind. The Spartans dropped the doubles point and had one win from Nick Rinks in singles before the final two matches were retired.
"Nick Rinks and John Allare got out quick in doubles to close out their match early and we had a chance at No. 2 doubles with a break, but unfortunately we didn't get the win," head coach Gene Orlando said. "In singles, we won two of the first sets and if we were able to get a couple of more wins in the first set, I think the score would have been different."
This is the second consecutive year that Northwestern has trumped the Green and White in the first round. Last year, the Wildcats posted a 4-1 victory against MSU.
In doubles play, State dropped the first match on court No. 3. Tyler Sauerbrey and Britton Steele fell to Christian Tempke and Juan Gomez, 8-0. MSU came back with a win on court No. 1 when the duo of Rinks and John Allare dominated Alex Sanborn and Marc Dwyer, 8-4.
The doubles point came down to the third and final match on court No. 2. The MSU duo of Michael Flowers and Alex Forger held the advantage at 6-5, but dropped two consecutive games to Willy Lock and Matt Christian for the loss, 8-6.
Following the conclusion of doubles, Steele lost his singles match on the fifth court to NU's Sanborn in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1.
Down 2-0, the Spartans got a win on court No. 1 from 63rd-ranked Rinks. The junior fell behind in the first set, 1-2, against Lock, but was able to tie the score back up at 3-all. He went on to win easily, 6-4, 6-2.
With the score 2-1, in favor of the Wildcats, Scott Rasmussen came back from being down 1-3 against No. 4 Christian to tie the score at four, five and six, but eventually lost 7-6 (9), 6-0.
Northwestern clinched the match on the third court. MSU's Allare fell behind early in the first set and didn't recover as he lost to Dwyer, 6-4, 6-3.
"Obviously we hoped to do better. We had a lot of close matches against some of the best teams in country and the Big Ten is a very strong conference," Orlando said. "Everyone is coming back next year, with the exception of Michael Flowers, so our future is promising. On the other hand, we have to continue to get better."
Michigan State finished the season 11-16, 2-8 Big Ten, and Northwestern improved to 10-13, 4-6 Big Ten, and moves on to face No. 1 seed Ohio State on Friday.