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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Men’s tennis season preview

<rleton men’s tennis team is coming off one of their best seasons to date in their 2007-2008 campaign (21-4), and this year they look to only improve upon those results. Last year, the Knights were ranked as high as #7 in the ITA Men’s Central Region Poll and #27 in the ITA Men’s National Rankings. Much of the season, the Knights found themselves battling with rival Gustavus Adolphus for supremacy in the MIAC. But to no avail, the Knights finished #2 in the MIAC as they lost in the Playoff Championship Match 5-0.

Head Coach Stephan Zweifel is coming off yet another MIAC coach of the year performance, his fourth in seven years. He voiced his opinion regarding the team, “I have not see this much energy and raw talent since the season premier of Dancing with the Stars.”

This year’s squad is young, however they will seek the leadership of lone-senior and Co-Captain, Jordan Hughes, as he tries to instill the wisdom and insight gained from past years. Fortunately, Hughes most definitely provides the leadership and maturity needed by a young team. He believes, “the team has an opportunity to be extremely successful, but with a young team we have to remained focused on performance rather than results.”

The team will be anchored by who some call the face of Carleton men’s tennis, Colin Russell. Russell ’10, the team’s top player last season, was ranked as high as 12th in the Central Region and finished the 2008 season ranked #48 nationally. Russell, once again looks to be at the top of the helm at both singles and doubles. After nearly receiving an invitation to the ITA individual National Championships last year, Russell will bid to be one of the Central Region’s top players again.

Also, among the team’s top returnee’s is Winston Park ’10. Park returns to the team this year hoping to add a positive contribution once again. Once the team’s top player, Park teamed with Russell last year to produce the Central Region’s #11 doubles team. Though the dynamic duo will most likely be divided this season for the first time in their careers, they look to impart the knowledge gained from two years of success upon the team’s youth.

With the loss of three senior All-MIAC players, the squad will look to the freshman class to pick up where they left off. Freshmen Peter Dunn and Dan Vollman had particularly strong showings at this fall’s ITA Midwest Regional falling in the 4th and 3rd round respectively.

With the refined games of returning players and added talent from a strong incoming freshman class, the Knights are poised to make history as potentially the best team Carleton has ever possessed. Co-Captain Colin Russell firmly concurs, “during my time at Carleton, I have been a part of some good teams, but the talent of this year’s team is unlike the past years. We have an opportunity to do something special if we remain committed and focused.” This year’s team has high hopes of reaching the upper-echelon of Division III Men’s College Tennis, dethroning the perennial powerhouse Gusties, and making a run in the ITA National Tournament. Coach Zweifel knows, “this team will wreak havoc in the MIAC and the Central Region, but also hopes the team wins a few matches.”

The Knights start off their season with a double-header this Saturday, February 7th as they face both Saint Mary’s and the Wisconsin-La Crosse in Winona at 12 and 3 pm, respectively. If you are so inclined to make the trek down to Winona look for the team with t-shirts and Sharpies in hand as the Knights’ Nike Dri-fit jerseys are on back-order until March.

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