With its sixth-consecutive winning season in the bag, Northwestern men’s tennis will kick off its Big Ten Tournament play later today in West Lafayette following a pair of season-ending wins.
The Wildcats (20-9, 7-4 Big Ten) beat both Penn State and Chicago State in a day-night doubleheader on Sunday in Evanston, taking down the Nittany Lions outside in the morning and beat the Cougars in the Combe Tennis Center that evening. The pair of victories followed a Friday home loss to Ohio State, one of the top teams in the country.
A program-best 10-0 start fed into a stellar run through the Big Ten, resulting in Arvid Swan’s team earning the No. 5 seed in the conference. That means the Wildcats will take on No. 12 Michigan State at 10:30 a.m. CST, a team Northwestern blanked 7-0 back on April 14 in East Lansing.
If Northwestern defeats the Spartans, it would play Wisconsin on Friday morning. But, Northwestern’s run to Sunday’s championship would likely have to run through Ohio State, the country’s No. 2 team.
In last season’s Big Ten Tournament, the Wildcats beat Minnesota to advance to the semifinals following their first round bye. They then lost to No. 17 Illinois in a tough 4-3 decision before hosting a NCAA Tournament Regional, in which Northwestern took down Valparaiso prior to being eliminated by Stanford.
The tournament comes at a good time for Northwestern, as the Wildcats have won six of their last eight matches. Losses to ranked foes in Michigan and Ohio State were their only blemishes in the month of April.