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ISSUE 120 VOL 16 PUBLISHED 3/23/2007

Weekend split for men

By Matt Tiano
Sports Editor

Friday, March 23, 2007

Going into Friday’'s match with St. John’'s in St. Cloud, the St. Olaf men's tennis team was confident after winning two matches off fourth-ranked Gustavus, an accomplishment no other MIAC counterpart can claim. Hoping to avenge an 8-1 disappointing loss a season ago to the Johnnies, the Oles came out firing on all cylinders, winning 6-3. The victory was St. Olaf's first in 10 years.

A common theme of the 2007 campaign thus far has been the squad's depth. On Friday, depth was instrumental as no. 2-5 singles won, while the third doubles duo of David Narvaez '‘09 and Drew Erie ‘'08 acquired the only St. Olaf doubles point.

At no. 3 singles, Erie dropped a first set decision in a tiebreaker but bounced back to cinch the second set 6-4. Erie used his momentum to win his third-set super-tiebreaker 10-7. Chase Donaldson '‘07 also lost his first set, but regained his form to win.

Brian Tolly ‘'10, Narvaez and Patrick Curran '‘07 won in straight sets at no. 2, 4 and 5 singles, respectively.

“"This was a huge win for us,"” said head coach Scott Nesbit.“ "There were times in each of the matches we won where we hung in there or came back from big deficits.”"

Nesbit also pointed out the importance of focusing late in matches.

“"We played focused and didn’'t get too flustered when the score was tight or when we were behind,"” Nesbit said.

Saturday, St. Olaf welcomed Concordia for a second conference dual match of the weekend. Breaks went the Cobbers’ way in a 5-4 Ole defeat.

St. Olaf lost two singles matches in three sets. At no. 1, Ian Pray '09 won his second set after dropping the first but failed to capitalize in the third. Erie won his first, but lost the following two at third singles. Narvaez, Curran and Donaldson won at no. 4, 5 and 6, respectively.

In doubles action, Erie and Narvaez were the sole Ole winners. Pray and Nick Crnkovich ‘'09 had match point, but lost in the end, 9-7. At no. 2 doubles, Tolly and Curran gave away an early 4-1 advantage.

“"It would have been easy just to go through the motions after the disappointing doubles results," Nesibt said. “"However, our singles played well and the guys still played hard and we almost pulled it out."”

Nesbit indicated that fatigue may have played a crucial role in the defeat.

“"After playing only the evening before, I think physical and mental fatigue affected us,"” Nesbit said.

Saturday marked the end of the indoor season for St. Olaf, now 2-3 (2-2 MIAC). The Oles travel to Carleton April 4.

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