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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Knights tennis handles region foe UW-Eau Claire, split doubleheader against D-II squads

< battle of regionally-ranked teams last Friday, Carleton posted an 8-1 triumph over UW-Eau Claire to notch its third victory of the season. After three close doubles matches, the depth of the Knights’ lineup was evident with a sweep of the singles competition.

Carleton entered the match ranked No. 8 in the central region and No. 29 nationally by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA). The Blugolds were slotted No. 21 in the region and gave the Knights their toughest challenge thus far in 2009.

“UW Eau Claire has been steadily moving up the regional rankings, and today was a good test for our young squad,” said Carleton head coach Stephan Zweifel. “We started off a bit slow in doubles, but we finally hit our stride in singles.

The Knights tandem of Colin Russell ’10 and Peter Dunn ’12 is ranked as the region’s No. 8 doubles team after advancing to the semifinals of the ITA regional tournament in the fall. The duo made their initial appearance of the winter season and recorded a 9-7 win.

Winston Park ’10 joined efforts with Dan Vollman ’12 for an 8-6 win at second doubles.The lone Wisconsin-Eau Claire victory of the night came in third doubles, an 8-4 decision.

While all six singles matches resulted in Carleton victories, three of those contests necessitated a third set, with two finishing with super-tiebreakers.

After losing a second-set tie breaker, Dunn fell behind 5-1 in the super tie-breaker at second singles before rallying to win the final nine points and take the set 10-5.

“I have seen wet hens in a better mood than Peter after he lost that second set tiebreaker,” Zweifel said. “I was very proud of the way he pulled his game together for the deciding super-breaker.”

Austin Taylor ’11 came back from a set down to notch the win at sixth singles.

“Austin’s epic battle at No. 6 singles was a sobering reminder that tennis can be a cruel, painful sport, littered with bruised egos and shattered dreams. And there is also a negative side as well,” Zweifel noted.

The other match that required three sets was at fifth singles were Jon Aranda ’12 dropped the first set, 6-2, but re-grouped and closed out his opponent 6-1 and 6-1.

On Sunday the team split a pair of matches against NCAA Division II opponents. The Knights cruised past the University of Mary, 9-0, before falling one point short, 4-5, against St. Cloud State. First-year Dunn went 4-0 on the day, winning a pair of singles and a pair of doubles matches.

The Knights made sure all 10 players on the roster saw action. The day began with a lopsided match against the University of Mary, including straight set victories in all six singles contests.

The afternoon opponent, St. Cloud State, presented a more formidable adversary. The Huskies are the No. 5 team in the D-II central region and have advanced to the NCAA tournament every year since 2001.

“St. Cloud State is a strong Division II school, and I was very pleased with how competitive the individual matches were today,” said Carleton Head Coach Stephan Zweifel. “Playing this level of competition early in the season is excellent preparation for our upcoming regional and conference opponents.”

Russell and Dunn, the No. 8 ranked doubles tandem in the region, pulled out a 9-8 doubles win to begin the afternoon. Dunn would add a straight set victory over Mike Master at second singles, improving his winter record to 3-0.

“Peter does not know the meaning of the word ‘fatigue,’ which is a little surprising given his relatively high SAT scores,” noted Zweifel.

Vollman and Vince Heguy ’11 won the other singles matches for Carleton. Both prevailed in straight sets.

Russell who has played first singles for Carleton since the start of the 2007-08 campaign was forced to retire from his match with St. Cloud’s Wojceich Batorski due to injury.

The Knights have another challenging doubleheader awaiting them this coming weekend as they travel to Madison, Wis. and face Carroll University and UW-Whitewater, the No. 9 squad in the region.

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