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ISSUE 121 VOL 13 PUBLISHED 3/7/2008

Pray extends streak, men frustrated by St. John's

By Barrett Kennedy
Sports Editor

Friday, March 7, 2008

Doubles play makes up just one-third of a MIAC dual match, but those first three tennis matches are often critical in determining the final result. Saturday, the St. Olaf men's tennis team squared off with St. John's, and doubles play was key. The Oles forced two-of-three opening doubles matches to a tiebreaker.

The Oles' first doubles team of Ian Pray '09 and Nick Crnkovich '09 worked their opening match to a tiebreaker, but could not claim the victory as they lost 7-5.

Will Mitchell '11 and Joe McDevitt '10, the Oles' third doubles team, found themselves in a similar situation. Again, the match was forced to a tiebreaker, but the Oles fell on the short end of the 9-7 result.

David Narvaez '09 and Drew Erie '08 also narrowly missed securing a St. Olaf point in their doubles match as they fell 9-7. After three tightly played opening matches, the Oles found themselves trailing the Johnnies heading into singles play. "It was definitely hard to go into our singles matches with the confidence and energy you would want after the doubles [matches]," Narvaez said. "We had quickly gone from being on the verge of taking a 3-0 lead in the doubles to being down 3-0."

Trailing 3-0 after doubles play meant the Oles needed to secure victories in five out of the six remaining matches, which Narvaez said "puts a lot of pressure on the singles [players]."

Pray started the Oles' singles play off on the right track, winning his match at first singles. With the win, Pray improved his individual record to 3-0 while playing in the first singles spot this season.

Erie followed suit by winning his match at second singles. Erie lost the first set 0-6, but rallied back to win the second set 7-6 and finally the tiebreaker 10-8.

However, St. John's swept the remaining four singles matches to win the overall team match 7-2. Narvaez, Erik Brekke '08, Nick Hubbard-Peters '10 and McDevitt competed for St. Olaf in those singles matches.

With the conference loss, St. Olaf's record falls to 1-1 in the MIAC. They are 1-2 overall after an earlier nonconference loss to regional power Luther.

The Oles' next match is Saturday at 7 p.m., when they take on UW-Lacrosse. The match will be played at Rochester Athletic Club.

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