St. Olaf 7, Univ. of St. Thomas 2 (box)

Strong singles play leads Ole men past St. Thomas

Michael Abdella
April 14, 2012

ST. PAUL, Minn.- After losing to the Tommies 7-2 in each of the last two seasons, the St. Olaf men's tennis team reversed the scoreline by earning a 7-2 win over the University of St. Thomas on Saturday afternoon.

The Oles picked up five singles wins and two doubles wins en route to the victory. Knute Gundersen, Stephen Nolan, and Andy Catania each won in singles and doubles action for St. Olaf, as the team won their sixth straight match.

Each of the three doubles matches was decided by just two games, but the Oles earned two points when they may have left doubles play empty-handed. Catania and John Wight bounced back from their first loss of the year at Hamline with a 8-6 victory over Brian McCarthy and Daniel Cooper. The pair overcame a 3-0 deficit to win their ninth match of the spring. Gundersen and Stephen Nolan fought off two match points in a 9-7 win over Brendan O'Connell and Allen-Michael Muench at second doubles. The lone St. Thomas doubles point came from Steven Skanse and Mitchell Blackey, who defeated Jack Dutton and Jon Foss 8-6.

In singles play, the Oles won five of the six matches thanks to claiming three of the four tie-breakers that were played. Gundersen, Catania, and Foss each won their first set in a tie-break before having more straight-forward second sets. Last year, Catania lost to Henry Mandell after winning the first set, but this time around Catania won his sixth straight singles match with a 7-6 (7-2), 6-1 win. Stephen Nolan claimed his team-leading 11th singles victory with a 6-3, 6-4 win over O'Connell at third singles. Dan Cooper posted the lone Tommie victory by topping John Wight 7-6 (7-5), 6-0. Charlie Reinertsen also picked up a straight-set victory over Peter Wright. St. Olaf has won 18 of 24 MIAC singles matches this spring.

The team's sixth straight win moves them to 11-1 on the year and 4-0 in MIAC play. The Oles are third in the conference behind the fellow undefeated teams of Gustavus and Carleton. St. Thomas falls to 10-3, 6-1 in the MIAC and is currently fourth. St. Olaf hosts Bethel (3-9, 1-5 MIAC) on Monday at 4:30 at Northfield High School.

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