Ole men rebound from first MIAC defeat, top Bethel
April 20, 2012
ARDEN HILLS, Minn.- After losing their first MIAC match of the spring to Carleton on Wednesday, the St. Olaf men's tennis team returned to winning ways with a 9-0 victory over Bethel on Friday afternoon athe Ona Orth Complex.
The Oles fell behind early in two of the three doubles matches, but ultimately came out with a doubles sweep. They then went on to win each of the six singles matches, all in straight sets. Knute Gundersen, John Wight, Stephen Nolan, Andy Catania, and Jon Foss all picked up two match wins on the day for St. Olaf.
Entering the match, St. Olaf had just one MIAC loss and Bethel had just one MIAC win, but the host Royals got off to the better start in doubles. Reggie Ronning and Tucker Morris built a 4-1 lead on Catania and Wight and Bryce Johnson and David Leafblad won six of the first seven games against Foss and Jack Dutton. However, both of the Ole pairings fought their way back and claimed wins. Catania and Wight won theirs in a tie-break, winning the breaker 9-7, while Foss and Dutton won the final seven games to win 8-6. Catania and Wight are now 10-2 in doubles play this year. Nolan and Gundersen cruised to a 8-2 victory over Kent Nichols and Steven Schull for the Oles third point.
Singles play was much more straight-forward for St. Olaf. The Oles needed the minimum of 12 sets to claim the six wins. Gundersen and Wight each won their first sets 7-5, before rolling in the second sets. Gundersen's win marked his return to the number one spot, which he has split with Wight. In the third through sixth singles matches, the Oles did not lose more than three games in any set. Nolan picked up his 11th straight match win, and 13th of the year, dropping just three games against Reggie Ronning. Catania and Foss each earned their 10th wins of the spring with their straight-set victories. Reinertsen improved to 5-1 in MIAC matches with his defeat of Kirby Ronning at sixth singles.
St. Olaf is now 12-2 this spring, including a 5-1 mark in the MIAC. Bethel's fourth straight loss sees them fall to 3-11, 1-7 in the conference. The Oles sit fourth in the MIAC behind Carleton (6-0), Gustavus (6-0), and St. Thomas (6-1), who have each clinched berths in the MIAC playoffs. St. Olaf faces St. Mary's in Owatonna on Saturday afternoon. The match against the Cardinals is scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m.