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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Men’s tennis stays undeafeated in conference

<rleton Men’s tennis team concluded its winter season this past Wednesday evening with a convincing 8-1 win over the MIAC’s Bethel University. The Knights improved to 7-2 on the year and remained undefeated in conference play.

However, while the score was quite lopsided, the match was most certainly not devoid of drama as four of the contests went the distance with the Knights prevailing in each one. Head Coach Stephan Zweifel voiced his opinion, “Dan, Ben, Peter, and Jon enjoy the spotlight more than a group of B-list Hollywood starlets. How else can I explain their combined dramatic third-set finishes?” It was a solid showing by the team’s youth to the end the winter season. Junior Winston Park and sophomore Vincent Heguy however didn’t seem to have as much trouble in securing victories as they both rolled to straight set wins.

Despite the team’s sluggish start against Bethel, it was an impressive victory nonetheless, as it kept the Knights atop the MIAC standings. The Knights were coming off of a disparaging loss to regional rival University of Wisconsin-Whitewater this past weekend in Madison, Wisconsin at the Neilson Tennis Center. Carleton and Whitewater battled for over five hours, with the Warhawks eventually prevailing 5-4. It was the Knight’s second contest of the day as they had defeated Carroll University 8-1 just hours before. Carleton, ranked No. 8 in the central region and No. 29 in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) national poll, jumped to an early 4-1 lead against UW-Whitewater with the help of solid doubles play.

Dan Vollman, a freshman from Oak Park, Ill., was slotted at #3 singles for the match and with a solid 6-1, 6-3 victory he improved to 6-0 in singles plays this season. Zweifel commented, “Dan brings a passion and energy to the tennis court that I have not seen since the 1978 Meat Loaf concert in the Los Angeles Coliseum.”

Needing just one of the last four singles matches left on court to secure the victory, the Knights surely looked poised to remain undefeated in Division III play.

Though, a Knights victory was perhaps not meant to be as each player on court proceeded to lose the first set. Carleton’s top two players Colin Russell and Peter Dunn were successful in forcing a third and decisive third-set at #1 and #2 singles respectively, but Winston Park and Vincent Heguy weren’t as fortunate as they were unable to hold off their opponents. In the final set, both matches ended in tiebreakers, with Alex Lowe, ranked No. 11 in the region, prevailing 7-3 over Russell and Mike Harmatys dispatching Dunn, 13-11. The losses were most definitely hard to swallow, but some good came of them. Zweifel stated following the match, “I take nothing but positive lessons from this match, and if one subscribes to Friedrich Nietzsche’s dictum that “Was uns nicht tötet, härtet uns ab”, we will be that much stronger for having survived this epic encounter.”

Over the next month leading to the Knight’s annual spring-break trip to sunny Hilton Head, South Carolina, the men will focus greatly on a couple of key areas of improvement. Knowing how important physical fitness is given both the climate and caliber of their opponents, staying in shape will be of great importance. Also, in an effort to remain sharp, the Knights will certainly assume as much time as possible in the basement of the Cowling Gymnasium (their preferred practice venue) over the next month. The Knights will face a number of formidable opponents in the University of Chicago, DePauw University, and Whitman College in their attempt to secure themselves among Division III’s best.

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