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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Men’s Tennis wins opening round at NCAAs, falls in 2nd round

<er the guidance of Central Region Coach of the Year Stefan Zweifel, Carleton men’s tennis put on a strong showing at the 2010 NCAA tournament with a convincing first round win and a very close loss to a top national team to finish out a remarkable season. As the matches were all halted after a team reached five out of the nine required points to win, the Knights crushed their first-round opponents Milwaukee School of Engineering 5-0 and then seriously tested 13th-ranked Trinity University only to fall by the same score.

After surviving excessive traffic on the drive up to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, the host site for the Central Region, the Knights finally got some shuteye and definitely brought the energy the following morning. At second doubles, Peter Dunn ’12 and Paul Cooper ’13 took out their opponents 8-2 with some high-flying doubles, and were followed off the court soon thereafter by third doubles. Playing together for the first time ever, Jon Aranda ’12 and Austin Jiang ’13 embraced their playoff experience with a satisfactory 8-3 victory. However, the Knights’ top duo, Winston Park ’10 and Dan Vollman ’12 were in need of their teammates’ support as they struggled to put returns in the court and found themselves in a tiebreaker. After a couple of close points, Park dominated a point that shifted the momentum in Carleton’s favor, and the pair stepped it up for a 9-8 (7-3) finish.

With the Knights leading 3-0 going into singles, the race for who would capture the remaining two points was on. As every single position in the Carleton arsenal was dictating play and in control of their own outcomes, the first to put all the pieces together was Dunn at first singles. While positions two through six were all bending their opposition to their will, all that was necessary was a fifth point.

Cooper and Aranda at five and six respectively were neck-and-neck to secure the victory for their team.

Aranda was two points from the finish line, and, driven by intra-team competition, rushed to finish his match, but Cooper edged him out and the match was called a win for the Knights.

The following morning, our hometown heroes were in for another 9am match, but this time would not be such a breeze. Now on only their second day as partners, Aranda and Jiang faced a tougher team this time around and unfortunately were first off the court from an 8-4 defeat. First and second doubles, on the other hand, seriously tested their opponents in tiebreakers. The next defeat for the Knights came from first doubles as they stretched their competition but fell 8-6 in the tiebreaker. The team then gathered in anticipation of a possible win for the second doubles tandem of Cooper and Dunn who had their chances, but Trinity pulled off some huge serving to get the best of them.

Putting co-captain Park back into the singles lineup against Trinity slid the rest of the lineup down, but even the day of rest did not soothe his aching back. With his partner in captainship Colin Russell ’10 also out due to shoulder surgery and supporting from the sidelines, Park struggled with his mobility against an opponent who cracked the ball even harder than his own flat ball. After the second singles Knight fell one and one, the rest of the singles lineup tried to put together some points before the inevitable fifth Trinity point.

Against the number fourth ranked player in his region, Dunn was in for some intense competition, but he rose to the challenge and all the pieces were coming together. And with Jiang on the verge of victory, Vollman rallying in the second set, Chin in his opponent’s head, and Cooper hanging with his competition, the Knights were playing this top national team incredibly tough. Unfortunately, Trinity prevailed 5-0 as their fourth singles player bested Vollman in a 6-4 second set before the Knights could capitalize on any of their leads. The Knights put up a disappointing final score against a very strong squad, but overall had a wonderful season with a postseason that proved their worth as a team.

-Kathryn Schmidt is a member of the women’s tennis team

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