LAKE GENEVA, Wis. – On his birthday, senior Aaron Goodman (Minneapolis, Minn./St. Louis Park) delivered the final gift, rallying from a set down to clinch the team victory as the No. 37-ranked Carleton College men’s tennis team bested UW-Whitewater by a 5-4 margin.
“Our match with UW-Whitewater had it all: celebrities, beautiful tennis, social influencers,” noted Carleton head coach Stephan Zweifel. “The only thing that separated us from the Frye Festival was that the fans got their money’s worth.”
The Knights improved to 6-1 on the season, but it was not easy. Carleton grabbed a 2-1 lead after doubles, then watched the Warhawks (2-1), a regularly regionally-ranked program, storm back to take a 4-3 lead before Xander Roti (Fy./Locust Valley, N.Y./Friends Academy) and Goodman delivered the decisive team points.
In doubles, the nationally-ranked duo of Leo Vithoontien (So./Bangkok, Thailand/Bangkok Patana School) and Jordon O’Kelly (Sr./Lake Forest, Ill./Lake Forest) secured an 8-6 victory, while Goodman and Xander Zuczek (So./Westerly, R.I./St. Bernard) picked up an 8-3 triumph.
Upon moving to singles, UW-Whitewater leveled the match before No. 15-ranked VIthoontien closed out his 6-1, 6-2 match atop the lineup. The Warhawks won at fifth and second singles to move within a point of the team victory, but Roti knotted things up with his 6-2, 6-1 result.
That meant third singles would determine the winner. After dropping the first set, Goodman came back to force the super tiebreaker and eventually claimed the 5-7, 6-4, 10-7 victory.
“With the match tied at 4-4, we were lucky to have Aaron be the deciding match,” Zweifel said. “He is as reliable as my mom’s dumpling recipe.”
After going 3-0 in Wisconsin this weekend, Carleton will return to the Badger State for two more matches on Saturday, Feb. 16. The Knights will face Augustana College (Ill.) at 12:00 p.m. followed by a 3:00 p.m. contest against UW-Eau Claire.