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ISSUE 120 VOL 16 PUBLISHED 3/23/2007

Spring Preview, Men's Tennis: Experience to guide men

By Matt Tiano
Sports Editor

Friday, March 23, 2007

After an eighth-place conference finish a season ago, the St. Olaf men’'s tennis team looks to a deep lineup to contend in a traditionally tough MIAC conference.

The Oles return virtually their entire lineup from top to bottom, with the exception of Mike Matsuura '06, who was lost to graduation. The key, however, will be to remain healthy, as last year's conference finish was plagued by a consistent injury bug.

The 2007 campaign has been underway since mid-February, and the Oles have found consistency in their lineup. Drew Erie ‘'08 played much of the 2006 campaign at the top spot. However, upon sophomore Ian Pray's return from an injury, Erie jumped to the second spot. So far this season, Pray has occupied the first singles position and Erie has filled the second spot.

The Oles welcome former high school standout Brian Tolly ‘'10. So far, Tolly has found his groove at second singles. David Narvaez ‘'09, Patrick Curran ‘'08 and Chase Donaldson ‘'08 have played no. 4, 5 and 6 singles, respectively.

"Doubles-wise, depth will be a strength." Pray said.

Narvaez played all three doubles positions a year ago, proving the Oles’ versatility. Erie played most of the 2006 season at no. 1, but because of improvement across the board and the addition of former state high school doubles champion Nick Crnkovich ‘'09, Erie has played third doubles alongside Narvaez.

Crnkovich and Pray have played one doubles and Curran and Tolly have filled in at number two.

So far this season, St. Olaf is 2-2 in MIAC play and 2-3 overall. The Oles have concluded their indoor schedule and await the outdoor opener, slated for April 4 at Carleton.

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