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ISSUE 119 VOL 15 PUBLISHED 3/24/2006

Injuries derail men’s tennis

By Matt Tiano
Sports Editor

Friday, March 24, 2006

If you searched for the definition of the word “healthy,” nowhere would you find the St. Olaf men'’s tennis team mentioned.

Perhaps the men'’s latest loss to conference foe Concorida is not an accurate depiction of what the men are capable.

Despite dropping an 8-1 decision, several matches were tightly contested, even though St. Olaf was missing its no. 2 singles player in Patrick Curran ‘'08 due to apendicitis. This forced David Narvaez ‘'09 to enter foreign territory at the no. 2 position.

Narvaez ended up playing remarkably well on the prestigious stage, despite dropping the match in a third-set super-tiebreaker, 10-8.

“"David played extremely well, highlighted by a 90 percent return rate,"” head coach Scott Nesbit said.

A shoulder injury has plagued promising newcomer Ian Pray ‘'09. Pray had missed the previous two contests against solid teams in UW-Eau Claire and St. John’'s.

However, Pray rebounded with a bang, winning his match 6-3, 7-5 against Kevin Goihl of Concordia at no. 6 singles.

"“Ian played well, despite the adversity that he has experienced,"” Nesbit said.

The match produced several quality singles efforts, highlighted by Narvaez, Mike Matsuura ‘'06, Eric Brandenburg ‘'08 and Pray.

At no. 3 Matsuura dropped a third-set super-tiebreaker 10-8, despite having match point.

Brandenburg played well in a 7-5, 7-6 defeat at no. 5.

"“The singles went well against a good Concordia squad,”" Nesibt said.

In doubles, the Oles dropped three decisions. At no. 1, Drew Erie '‘08 and Narvaez were defeated by Concordia’'s Jordy Kammerling and William Wischer, 8-4.

“"We did not come as close in doubles as we would have liked,”" Nesbit said. “"We will keep working on that.”"

The hope is that the members are able to travel to Arizona over Spring Break, where they will face four junior college teams, with a healthy squad.

Even if all players are healthy enough to play, the question remains whether they will be capable of contributing where they would if they weren’t injured. Pray played his first match back at no. 6 singles, but in the team'’s two opening matches, he was competitve at no. 2.

If Pray is able to compete at that spot, it opens the door for Narvaez and Curran at no. 3 and 4, respectively. Both have proven that they are capable of battling, and winning at even higher spots.

Upon their return, Nesbit looks forward to a healthy lineup and more MIAC competition.

“"The MIAC is tough competition,"” Nesbit said. “"Hopefully we will get some wins in April when we play teams like Bethel, St. Mary’s and Hamline, teams like us. The matches are guaranteed to be close."”

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