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ISSUE 120 VOL 18 PUBLISHED 4/20/2007

Men's tennis survives, then stumbles

By Matt Tiano
Sports Editor

Friday, April 20, 2007

Last season, the St. Olaf men's tennis team was dealt a multiple of unfortunate circumstances as several Oles were plagued with injuries. Six matches into the season, the squad was confident. They had defeated St. John's, whom they had lost to a season ago, and stayed extremely competitive with national power Gustavus.

Entering Friday's match with Hamline, the Oles knew that if they continued to play the consistent tennis they had played all along, they would be well on their way to their best conference finish since 2002.

Hamline visited St. Olaf on Friday, a rescheduled contest suitable for what seemed like the first glimpse of sun in weeks. The Oles took advantage of the opportunity to play outside, ousting the Hammies 7-2 behind a solid sweep of doubles play.

In singles competition, Ian Pray '09, Drew Erie '08 and Patrick Curran '07 won in straight sets at no. 1, 3 and 5 singles, respectively, all in straight sets. David Narvaez '09 won a three-set decision at the fourth spot.

Following Friday's action, St. Olaf traveled to Arden Hills to battle Bethel, a match with a host of implications. If the Oles were to defeat the Royals, their chance of finishing third in the conference would be vastly improved. However, an unfortunate illness may have cost St. Olaf: The Oles' no. 5 singles and no. 2 doubles player, Curran, was forced to sit out. Chase Donaldson '08 then played the fifth spot and Erik Brekke '08 stepped in at no. 6. Bethel claimed both of these matches en route to a 5-4 Royal victory.

Tuesday, St. Olaf desperately needed to defeat an average St. Thomas team to salvage their loss to Bethel. Curran remained sidelined, and the Oles again missed his presence. St. Olaf lost two doubles matches and could not gain enough singles momentum to salvage the doubles miscues.

Losing 6-3, the Oles had the chance to win, but Pray and Brekke each lost third set super-tiebreakers.

Looking ahead, St. Olaf travels to Winona on Saturday for a match with St. Mary's. Match time is set for 1 p.m.

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