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ISSUE 121 VOL 16 PUBLISHED 4/11/2008

Men win in blowout

By Barrett Kennedy
Sports Editor

Friday, April 11, 2008

The St. Olaf men's tennis team needed something, anything to end its four-game losing streak. The remedy for the team's latest woes came in the form of the last-place Hamline Pipers.

During the four-match losing streak, the men managed to accumulate just four points in 36 total games. On Tuesday afternoon, the men more than doubled that productivity after dismantling Hamline University 9-0.

Drew Erie '08 and Eric Brandenburg '08 both breezed through their matches without conceding a game to their Hamline opponents. Both men won 6-0, 6-0, with Erie playing in the number two spot and Brandenburg playing in the sixth spot.

Ian Pray '09 returned to his winning ways at first singles, winning the first game 6-3 before finishing off Hamline's top player 6-2 in the second game. Pray, who was 5-0 in singles play during the indoor season, ended a three-match losing streak with Tuesday's win.

David Narvaez '09 played at the number three spot and convincingly won his match with back-to-back 6-1 sets. Nick Peters '10 rounded out the Oles' singles roster Tuesday, dropping his Hamline counterpart 6-4, 6-0 to seal the St. Olaf sweep.

The closest Hamline came to winning a single point Tuesday came in the second doubles match. The pairing of Erie and Narvaez was forced to play a tiebreaker, but wound up winning the set 9-7.

Nick Crnkovich '09 provided solid play for the Oles on the doubles court, pairing with Pray to drop Hamline's top doubles team by a score of eight games to two.

Similarly, Will Mitchell '11 saw his action of the day on the doubles court during the early goings of the match, joining Peters to win the third doubles match up 8-2 and secure St. Olaf a 3-0 lead heading into singles play.

Tuesday afternoon's conference victory improved the Oles' MIAC record to 3-2, placing them in a tie for fourth place with St. John's.

The Oles' last shutout victory came April 28, 2006 when the men swept Macalester College 6-0 in the opening round of the MIAC playoffs. Three of the six singles matches were left unfinished as the Oles had already clinched the match win, advancing them to the second round of the playoffs.

Over the weekend, the Oles faced a much more potent Gustavus team. The Oles were unable to muster much of a challenge against the first-place Gusties during their home-opener at the Carlson Courts.

Mitchell and Peters secured the lone St. Olaf point on the afternoon, winning the third doubles match 8-6. However, Gustavus dominated most of the remaining matches on the way to improving its MIAC record to 8-0.

Over spring break, the Men traveled to Florida for a trio of matches to prepare for the outdoor leg of the spring season. The team faced some tough teams in the tune-up matches, managing to earn just three points during the three matches.

The Oles opened the trip against St. Leo's University but were defeated 7-2. Next was an 8-1 loss to Webber International, followed finally by a 9-0 loss to the Florida Institute of Technology.

St. Olaf's next fixture is a critical conference match up against Bethel University. The conference dual will be played at Fort Snelling Tennis Club and is set to start at 4:30 p.m.

Bethel is currently ranked sixth, two points behind St. Olaf in the MIAC standings.

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