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ISSUE 119 VOL 14 PUBLISHED 3/17/2006

Tennis teams hit bumps in road

By Matt Tiano
Sports Editor

Friday, March 17, 2006

Optimism trickled on the Oles'’ half of the court as both tennis squads opened their seasons in style, with convincing wins over Macalester.

However, since then, the men are 0-4, while the women are 2-3. Their latest matches featured lopsided victories in favor of the opposition; the men were defeated 8-1 by St. John'’s, and the women were taken down 9-0 by St. Ben'’s this past weekend.

Despite the adversity, both teams have found ways to remain competitive. On March 3, UW-Eau Claire traveled to Owatonna to take on the Ole men and women. The women came away with the victory in convincing fashion by a score of 7-2. Leading the charge was a sweep in doubles in three close matches.

At the top spot, Emily Eggert ‘'06 and Jorie Steffen '‘07 defeated Laura Geissler and Katie Kuzma of UW-Eau Claire 8-6.

In singles competition, St. Olaf took no. 1, 2, 4 and 5 singles. At the top spot, Eggert defeated Kuzma of Eau Claire 6-4, 6-2.

On the men’'s side, St. Olaf suffered a close loss, with a score of 5-4. Several close matches, including two three-set matches that were decided in the third and final set proved to be the factor, as Eau Claire won two of those. At no. 2 singles, Jake Znidarsich of Eau Claire defeated St. Olaf'’s Pat Curran ‘'08 6-2, 5-7, 13-11. At no. 3, the Oles'’ David Narvaez ‘'09 was defeated by Steven Lantz 6-3, 5-7, 10-7.

If one of those two matches would have gone in the Oles’ favor in the final tiebreaker, the outcome would have been entirely different.

"We played very well in the match with Eau Claire,”" head coach Scott Nesbit said. “"Actually, we had a match point to win it all, but it just didn't happen.”"

Most recently, the men faced St. John’'s last Friday, while the women took on conference power St. Ben’'s on Saturday.

The women only managed one set. The closest match of the afternoon came at no. 5 singles, where St. Olaf's Diana Baetscher '‘09 seemingly was in command, winning the first set 6-1. However, the Blazers' Melissa Kampa took the second set 6-2 and the third set tiebreak 10-4.

Conversely, the men went down 8-1. Their single victory coming at no. 1 doubles, where Narvaez and Drew Erie ‘'08 defeated the Johnnie duo of Steve Tacl and Curtis Horton, 8-4.

"“The St. John's match was actually closer than the score indicated,”" Nesbit said. “"We lost a super-breaker at no. 4 singles [Mike Matsuura] and had close matches at one [Drew Erie], three [Narvaez] and six [Erik Brekke].”"

Both squads will travel to Fargo to take on Concordia-Moorhead Saturday. The men (1-4) look forward to their Spring Break trip to Arizona, where they will face four teams over a span of four days. The women will be idle during Spring Break.

“"One reason we take Spring Break trips is to get the opportunity to play outdoors,"” Nesbit said. "“Dealing with conditions such as sun and wind really can make a difference in winning or losing close matches or even when overmatched to be more competitive."”

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