St. Olaf 6, Saint Mary's University 3 (box)

Singles depth leads men's tennis past Saint Mary's

Michael Abdella
April 21, 2012

OWATONNA, Minn.- Trailing 2-1 after doubles play, the St. Olaf men's tennis team showed off its deep singles line-up by winning five of the six singles matches in a 6-3 win over Saint Mary's on Saturday afternoon at Owatonna Indoor Tennis Center.

The Cardinals started off quickly and controlled doubles play, taking two of the three matches. Saint Mary's Michael Lunka and Bobby Steingraeber won their 18th match, against just two defeats, by topping John Wight and Andy Catania 8-4 at first doubles. Gavin Smith and Justin Loeffler provided the second Cardinals point with an 8-6 win over Jon Foss and Jack Dutton. Knute Gundersen and Stephen Nolan got the Oles on the board with an 8-5 defeat of Sam Puff and Andrew Rangitsch. Gundersen and Nolan won seven of the first nine games and, despite a wobble towards the end, gave St. Olaf a much-needed point.

The Oles flipped the switch on the Cardinals in singles play, as they held the upper hand almost throughout. Lunka defeated Wight 6-2, 6-2 for the lone Saint Mary's singles win. Knute Gundersen, Stephen Nolan, Andy Catania, Jon Foss, and Charlie Reinertsen were all victorious for St. Olaf, all in straight sets. Gundersen's big serving helped him past Steingraeber 6-4, 6-3. Nolan used his steady ground strokes to top Puff, losing just two games in the process for his 12th consecutive win. Catania's win improved his record to 8-1 at fourth singles, while Foss has won 12 of his 15 singles matches this year. Reinertsen defeated Loeffler 6-2, 6-2 at sixth singles for his sixth win in seven MIAC matches.

The win puts St. Olaf in a tie with Carleton and St. Thomas for second in the MIAC at 6-1. The Oles are 13-2 overall on the spring. Saint Mary's falls to 9-11, 2-6 in the MIAC. St. Olaf needs one more conference win to clinch a spot in the MIAC playoffs. The team can clinch the playoff berth on Friday when they face Saint John's in Owatonna at 5 p.m. The Johnnies are 6-8, 4-3 in the conference this season.

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