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ISSUE 119 VOL 15 PUBLISHED 3/24/2006

Spring Preview, Men's Tennis: Returners to spur men

By Matt Tiano
Sports Editor

Friday, March 24, 2006

The St. Olaf men's tennis team looks to improve on its seventh-place conference finish a year ago as all but two players return to the court. The Ole men opened their season with a record of 1-5 overall and 1-3 in MIAC play.

Filling a pivotal leadership role for the Oles is lone senior and captain Mike Matsuura.

"“Mike [Matsuura] has been invaluable as a leader for the past two years,”" Head coach Scott Nesbit said. “"He is a dependable teammate and someone respected by all.”"

However, two promising newcomers in Ian Pray from Madison, Wisc., and David Narvaez from Northfield, Minn. have head coach Scott Nesbit, in his 16th season, feeling confident that they will be able to make an immediate impact. Both played no. 1 singles at their respective high schools.

This youth combined with sophomore and junior experience may provide enough for the men to make a run in a tough MIAC. Sophomores Patrick Curran, Drew Erie, Eric Brandenburg and junior Chase Donaldson are all expected to fill significant roles.

St. Olaf debuted their season with a 5-4, closely contested match against conference foe Macalester. However, since then, the Oles have been winless and sit at 1-5 overall, and 1-4 in the conference.

Since then, the men have struggled to escape with team victories, but have remained very competitive at an individual level. Nesbit remains optimistic.

“"Hopefully we will get some wins in April when we play teams like Bethel, St. Mary’'s and Hamline,”" Nesbit said. “"They are all programs similar to us."”

The Oles will travel to Arizona over Spring Break, where they will take on four junior colleges from the state.

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