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ISSUE 117 VOL 16 PUBLISHED 4/23/2004

Men gain confidence in Nagels absence

By Joel Stjernholm
Contributing Writer

Friday, April 23, 2004

The St. Olaf mens tennis team had reason to feel good despite a 6-3 loss to St. Marys Saturday as they took the court without their number one and two singles players, brothers Ted and Tom Nagel 04.

The Nagels, who spent the weekend touring prospective medical schools, would have likely tipped the match in the Oles favor.

Byron McDonald 07 and Wes Block 05 each scored singles wins, while the tandem of David Harris 07 and Chase Donaldson 07 won in doubles play.

Donaldson nearly won his singles match, but fell short in a super-breaker 10-5.

Dan Cohen 04 and Mike Matsuura 06 played in the number one and two slots and performed well considering they had to play up to fill the vacant roster spots.

Playing up was tough, Block said. We had to really focus in and play good tennis.

Given the proximity of the match to the conference tournament, a few Ole players used the contest to polish their talent prior to the MIAC tournament.

The St. Marys match is a great opportunity for a lot of our guys to fine-tune their skills, head coach Scott Nesbit said prior to the match.

The results of the match with the Cardinals are indicative of the significant in-season improvement shown by the younger Ole players this year.

Although many Ole starters entered this season without college-level experience, as the season has progressed, so too have the Oles.

As Ole players and coaches look toward the MIAC tournament this weekend, most would agree they are playing well.

Im playing better than Ive played all year, McDonald said. The whole team is on top of its game. Its exactly where we want to be right now.

Although Tuesdays match with Carleton was cancelled due to inclement weather, the team feels well prepared.

The Oles believe the experience they acquired during their spring break trip to Florida will give them an edge at the tournament.

The key to the conference tournament will be starting out strong, Block said. We need to play well on Friday.

Although Gustavus, undefeated in MIAC play, is virtually guaranteed victory, the Oles should put together a solid tournament.

Good play at the conference tournament would be a fitting end to an enjoyable season of St. Olaf mens tennis.

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