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ISSUE 120 VOL 14 PUBLISHED 3/9/2007

Tennis gets underway

By Matt Tiano
Sports Editor

Friday, March 9, 2007

The St. Olaf men’'s and women'’s tennis squads have begun their spring seasons, and have experienced relative success.

The men opened their campaign with a 7-2 victory over conference foe Macalester Feb. 16 in Burnsville. Boosted by a doubles sweep, all the Oles needed were two singles wins.

The doubles sweep was led by the Ole no. 1 duo of Ian Pray ‘'09 and Nick Crnkovich ‘'09, a former doubles high school state champion, who won their match with Macalester's Aaron Heerboth and Brad Goldstein, 9-8 (7-4). Pray, David Narvaez ‘'09, Eric Brandenburg ‘'08 and Joe McDevitt ‘'10 were victorious in singles play.

Perhaps a long layover due to a match cancellation led to a disappointing sweep to Iowa power Luther College, played at Rochester Athletic Club. St. Olaf did not manage a set in the 9-0 defeat.

The women opened Feb. 16 as well, defeating the Scots 6-3 behind strong singles play. Kristina Poplavska ‘09 won her match at no. 1 singles, defeating Megan Walsh in straight sets 6-4, 6-4. Jorie Steffen ‘'07 won at no. 2, Sarah Carlson ‘'10 at no. 4, Ellen Goerss '‘09 at no. 5 and Diana Baetscher ‘09 at no. 6. The Oles, however, struggled a bit in doubles play, dropping no. 1 and 2, but the Ole duo of Carlson and Aimee Ny ‘'10 avoided the sweep.

The following night, the Oles traveled to St. Cloud to take on a traditionally strong St. Ben'’s team. Depth alone could not save the Oles, as St. Olaf’'s only wins came at no. 6 singles, and no. 2 and 3 doubles. The top players for the Blazers were too much for the Oles'’ power at the top of their lineup. The women rebounded well from the St. Ben’s los's as well as the layoff, to defeat Luther, 5-4.

Poplavska won at the top spot, defeating Heidi Bothun of Luther in straight sets, 6-3, 7-5. Ellen Goerss won at no. 4 in a third set super-tiebreaker, while Sarah Carlson won in straight sets at no. 6. In doubles play, depth was instrumental in the win, as Baetscher and Goerss won at no. 2, while Carlson and Ny won at no. 3.

Looking ahead, the men have a Saturday meeting at fourth-ranked Gustavus, while the women take on College of St. Catherine at Owatonna Tennis Club Friday evening.

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