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The Stetson men's tennis team defeated Northern Illinois by a score of 5-2 on Monday afternoon at the Mandy Stoll Tennis Center to stay undefeated on the season.

"The team played a very good match today against a tenacious opponent," Director of Tennis Pierre Pilote said. "The quick turnaround from the long journey back from our spring break matches didn't have an effect on us. Instead, the team was extremely focused from the outset."

After the Hatters (7-0) and the Huskies (9-5) split the first four singles matches, Stetson held a 3-2 advantage and was just one match away from victory. Freshmen Egor Panyushkin and Cahit Kapukiran both won their first sets, but both lost the second, forcing a third set in each.

After a hard-fought third set that had to go to a tie-breaker, Kapukiran came away with the victory, defeating Dor Amir 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (4) to secure the victory for Stetson. Panyushkin went on to defeat Jovan Zelkovic just moments later by a score of 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.

Singles play began with senior Didrik Berg falling to Axel Lagerlof by a score of 6-0, 6-0. Sophomore Chester Espie then defeated Simon Formont 6-2, 6-2, and freshman Simon Julin defeated Max Phillips 6-0, 6-1 to give the Hatters a 3-1 advantage. Freshman Laurynas Antropikas was defeated by Frederick Cadieux to keep the Huskies alive in the match before Kapukrian finished it.

Stetson opened the match by winning the doubles point for the second straight match. Berg and Julin cruised to an 8-0 victory over Formont and Maksym Lagutin. Antropikas and junior Hans Adrian Riseng defeated Amir and Lagerlof by a score of 8-3 to secure the 1-0 lead for the Hatters.

The Hatters are back in action Tuesday, March 12, taking on Cleveland State at 2:00 p.m. The match is the first of a doubleheader at the Mandy Stoll Tennis Center, with the Stetson women set to play tentatively at 6:00 p.m.

"We face a very good team tomorrow in Cleveland State," Pilote said. "(They are) yet another challenge for our young squad."

Match Notes: This marks the second 7-0 start in the last three seasons ... Chester Espie has won 19 straight singles matches (20 is the school record) ... The last point of Panyushkin's match was given because of a code violation on NIU's coach.


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