Gundersen named MIAC Men's Tennis Athlete-of-the-Week
May 1, 2012
ST. PAUL, Minn.- After two outstanding singles performances last week, Knute Gundersen was named the MIAC Men's Tennis Athlete-of-the-Week on Tuesday.
Gundersen has split time at number one singles this season with John Wight, but he led the way last week as the team topped Saint John's and lost to Gustavus without Wight. In the final week of the regular season, Gundersen's play helped the Oles clinch the third seed in the MIAC Playoffs for the first time in recent memory.
Against Saint John's on Friday, Gundersen conjured up a vital comeback against Fabricio Moncada. Gundersen lost the first set to Moncada 6-4 and trailed 5-4 in the second set. With Moncada serving for the match, Gundersen stepped up and broke to get back on serve. Saving a match point on the way, Gundersen forced a tie-break that he eventually won 9-7 behind his big serve and solid ground strokes to force a super tie-break. In the super breaker, each player had a mini-break advantage but Gundersen kept his momentum going by winning it 10-7. Gundersen's comeback leveled the team score at 4-4 and the Oles went on to win 5-4 to clinch the third seed in the playoffs.
Although it did not translate into a win, Gundersen kept up his remarkable play on Saturday when the Oles faced perennial powerhouse Gustavus. Gundersen came up against one of the top singles players in the country at the Division III level in Amrik Donkena but put up quite a fight. In a hotly contested first set, Gundersen had a couple set points but was unable to capitalize, as Donkena took the first set in a tie-break. Donkena won the breaker 7-5 and took the second set 6-4.
This season, Gundersen has posted a 9-7 record, including a 6-3 conference mark, in singles play splitting time between the first and second spots. He also has a 10-6 doubles record overall this spring, which includes a 7-4 mark with Stephen Nolan at second doubles.
St. Olaf (14-3, 7-2 MIAC) finished third in the conference this spring with their lone losses coming to Gustavus and Carleton. As the third seed in the MIAC Playoffs, the Oles will open with a rematch against Saint John's at 3 pm on Friday in St. Peter. The winner of that match will face Carleton in the semifinals on Saturday.