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ISSUE 121 VOL 14 PUBLISHED 3/14/2008

Men's doubles struggling

By Barrett Kennedy
Sports Editor

Friday, March 14, 2008

Another week has elapsed in the quick tennis season, yet the headline remains unchanged. Ian Pray '09 remains unbeaten at first singles while the Oles drop another match. Friday, the men's 7-2 drubbing came at the hands of nonconference opponent UW-LaCrosse.

Pray remains unbeaten in four singles matches this season, winning his sets 6-3 and 7-6. Unfortunately, Pray's singles play success has been just as reliable as the struggles of the Oles' doubles play.

Friday marked the third consecutive match in which the Oles have lumbered out of doubles play in a 3-0 hole. The team has surrendered its last nine doubles matches and has not secured a win in the opening stage of play since Feb. 15 in the Macalester dual match.

Trailing 3-0 means the men consistently enter singles play with the understanding that they must collectively win five-of-six matches to land a victory. As a result, the men find themselves in a three-match losing rut.

Nick Peters '10 claimed the Oles' second team point after a convincing 6-2, 6-1 victory at fifth singles. Peters is currently 2-2 in singles play so far this season, earning him the second-best individual record behind Pray.

Drew Erie '08 and David Narvaez '09 both lost hard-fought matches. Erie, playing at second singles, won a close first set 7-6. However, his UW-LaCrosse opponent rallied back and Erie lost the second set 6-4 and the deciding tiebreaker 10-6.

Narvaez dropped the first set of his third singles match 6-4, and then stormed back to win the second set 6-1. But like Erie, Narvaez fell in the tiebreaker, this time by a score of 10-5.

Erik Brekke '08 had another tough match Friday, playing against a UW-LaCrosse player with an individual singles record of 6-3 this season. Brekke, who lost back-to-back 6-1 sets, will look to capture his first singles win of the year in Sunday's upcoming match.

Eric Brandenburg '08 rounded out singles play for the day, falling in two close sets of 7-5 and 6-4 in the sixth singles spot. In doubles competition, the St. Olaf team shuffled its pairings with two new match ups. However, the changes proved fruitless as the doubles play struggles continued for the Oles.

Joe McDevitt '10 teamed with Pray for the second doubles match, but the pair fell 8-4. Will Mitchell '11 saw his action of the day on the doubles court, teaming up with Brandenburg at third doubles. This new combination managed to win six games, but still fell 8-6 in the match.

The usual pairing of Narvaez and Erie played at first doubles, but surrendered 8-4 in their match.

With the nonconference loss, St. Olaf falls to 1-3 on the season. At the other end of the court, UW-LaCrosse boosted its record to 6-2.

Sunday's upcoming match features MIAC opponent Concordia College.

The men will load up the bus for the Moorhead, Minn. trip. The first serve is set for an early 8 a.m.

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