Men's tennis downed by Carleton in MIAC semifinals
May 5, 2012
ST. PETER, Minn.- The St. Olaf men's tennis team came out on the wrong end of a highly entertaining MIAC Playoff semifinal, as the team lost 5-2 to Carleton on Saturday afternoon at Swanson Indoor Tennis Center.
The Knights topped the Oles 7-2 back on April 18, as they swept the three doubles matches won four singles matches in straight sets. This time around, St. Olaf won one doubles match and could easily have had another. The third-seeded Oles also won four sets in singles play but it was not quite enough to upset the second-seeded Knights.
Doubles play was highlighted by two extremely competitive and well-played matches. In the regular season meeting, Carleton's Peter Dunn and Paul Cooper topped Andy Catania and John Wight 8-5 but this time the Ole duo forced the match all the way to a tie-break. The set was close throughout and at 5-5 in the tiebreak, Catania missed a forehand volley to give Dunn and Cooper a match point on their serve, which they converted. The win gave Carleton a 2-0 lead after Jon Aranda and Dan Vollman beat Jack Dutton and Jon Foss 8-2. Knute Gundersen and Stephen Nolan gave the Oles a lifeline with a big 9-7 win over Austin Jiang and Andrew Hwang. The match was a back-and-forth affair but the Oles broke at 7-7 and Nolan served out the match to narrow the deficit to 2-1 heading to singles play.
St. Olaf put up a solid showing in singles but was unable to complete the comeback. McCoy Becker gave Carleton a 3-1 lead with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Charlie Reinertsen at sixth singles. Dunn made it 4-1 by breaking Gundersen late in each set of a 7-5, 7-5 win. John Wight then made a remarkable comeback against Avery Rux at second singles to keep the Oles in with a chance. Rux won the first set 6-1 before Wight raced out to a 5-1 lead in the second set. However, Rux came storming back himself to force a tie-break. Wight played the better tennis in the tie-break and won it to send the match to a full third set, and Wight's momentum helped him come out on top 6-3. At third singles, the match between Jiang and Nolan featured long baseline rallies and was also decided in a third set. Jiang took the first 6-4 before Nolan raced through the second set 6-0. Jiang then broke Nolan early in the third and held serve throughout the set to win it 6-3 to seal the win for the Knights. With Carleton having their five points, the fourth singles match between Hwang and Catania was cut short with Catania leading 4-3 in the third set. Catania had come alive after losing the first set 6-1 to claim the second by the same margin. Paul Cooper led Jon Foss 5-2 at fifth singles match when play was stopped.
The win sent Carleton (21-4, 8-1 MIAC) to the final to face Gustavus (20-7, 9-0 MIAC), who beat St. Thomas 5-1 in the other semifinal. St. Olaf ends the season with a 15-4 record, including 7-2 in the MIAC with the two losses being to Carleton and Gustavus. The loss marks the final match in the careers of Wight, Gundersen, and Foss.
Final season records for singles: Knute Gundersen (9-9, 6-3 MIAC), John Wight (10-6, 4-3 MIAC), Stephen Nolan (15-4, 6-3 MIAC), Andy Catania (13-3, 6-2 MIAC), Jon Foss (14-4, 6-3 MIAC), Charlie Reinertsen (12-7, 7-2 MIAC).
Final season records for doubles: Wight/Catania (10-5, 4-3 MIAC), Gundersen/Nolan (9-6, 4-4 MIAC), Dutton/Foss (5-6, 2-4 MIAC).