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ISSUE 121 VOL 18 PUBLISHED 4/25/2008

Tennis men win, make playoffs

By Matthew Simenstad
Contributing Writer

Friday, April 25, 2008

The men's tennis team wrapped up their regular season with a convincing win against St. Mary's at home Saturday and a loss at Carleton Monday. The Oles finished 4-5 in conference play, good enough to qualify for the sixth and final spot in the MIAC Championships to be played this weekend at Gustavus.

Team captain Drew Erie '08 had a very strong showing against St. Mary's, winning 6-2, 6-1 from the second singles spot, and teaming up with David Narvaez '09 to dominate the number two doubles duo from St. Mary's, 8-1.

Narvaez also outplayed his opponent at third singles winning 6-3, 6-3. Nick Hubbard-Peters '10 and Will Mitchell '11 also won their doubles match handily, disposing of the St. Mary's number three team 8-4. Individually, they also both won their respective singles matches.

The match against Carleton, who finished second in the conference with an 8-1 record against MIAC opponents, was postponed from Friday because of rain. The Oles were without Ian Pray '09 due to a slight abdominal injury. Pray plays number one singles and doubles with Nick Crnkovich '09, but coach Scott Nesbit chose to rest him in preparation for the playoffs. The injury is minor, however, and he is expected to play at full strength in the playoffs.

St. Olaf lost 9-0 to the Knights, who are ranked 28th nationally and seventh in the central region.

"It was good to play Carleton as always," Nesbit said. "They are a very talented squad and it gave us a good opportunity to play outside."

The Oles will play Bethel in the first round of the conference championships Friday. The Royals finished third in the conference and barely beat St. Olaf in the head-to-head match, eking out a 5-4 win. The teams split singles matches 3-3, but the difference came from Bethel's 2-1 advantage in doubles play.

"We are really looking forward to playing them again," Nesbit said of the upcoming match. "We will hopefully find a way to win some of those close matches we had earlier with them and win the match."

The men also gained some good momentum going into this weekend with a 6-3 win against non-conference foe MSU-Mankato on Tuesday. Friday's quarterfinals match with third-seeded Bethel in the first round of the MIAC Championships is slated to start at 3 p.m.

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