Men's tennis competes at ITA Championships
September 29, 2013
ST. PETER, Minn. - Six members of the St. Olaf men's tennis team competed in the USTA/ITA Championships and the Midwest Regional Championships held at Gustavus Adolphus College on September 27 and 28.
"This tournament really gives the fall some meaning," said St. Olaf co-captain Stephen Nolan. "The ITAs give us something to work for in the fall and it keeps the season from becoming monotonous. It's a great way to gauge the competition before our main season begins in the spring."
Ben Carlson, Joey Kronzer and Nolan represented the Oles in the tournament's main singles draw. Nolan, a junior, was the 14th seed going into the 114 player draw. Due to being seeded, Nolan received a first round bye before officially beginning his tournament with a second round duel against UW-Eau Claire's Kyle Hoffman in which Nolan cruised to a 6-2, 6-2 victory.
"It was definitely tough with the bye," said Nolan of his match with Hoffman. "It was pretty windy and the conditions were tough. I was really just trying to find some rhythm against guys that had already gotten to play out there."
Nolan was then defeated by Gustavus Adolphus's Bryan Miles by a score of 6-2, 6-1.
"It was a tough match, I could definitely tell that it was only my second match of the season and I felt the rust," Nolan said. "It was a match I definitely wanted, but he handled the wind very well and played a great match."
Carlson also made a third round appearance for St. Olaf. In the first round, the sophomore was matched up against Carthage's hard-hitting lefty Nick Stephan. In a match that contained two rain delays, Carlson prevailed and won convincingly, 6-2, 6-2.
In the second round, Carlson drew UW-La Crosse's Dante Peitra, a player that Carlson played several times in his high school tennis days. Carlson lost the first set 6-1 but roared back to a second set win of 6-3. He then held on to win the 10-point tiebreaker by a close score of 10-8 to obtain the victory.
"I hit the reset button [after the first set]," Carlson said. "I came out in the second set with a new strategy and played the wind much better."
In the third round, Carlson ran up against eventual tournament runner up Jack Michael from Carroll and was defeated 6-3, 6-0.
"I learned what it takes to get to the next level; I was right there with a tough player," Carlson said. "The game just moves faster, reactions are quicker and there is always just one more ball to hit."
Kronzer, dealing with a nagging knee injury, managed to take Central's West Adelman to a deciding 10-point tiebreaker but was eventually defeated by close scores of 7-5, 4-6, (5-10).
In doubles action, Kronzer and Nolan won their opening round match over Wartburg by a score of 8-5 but fell in round two to Carthage 8-6.
"Joey and I have a good combination," Nolan said. "Joey was struggling a bit with his knee, but he gave it a good effort and we played some good doubles against some great teams. Its good to get some experience now since we'll both be here next year as well."
Meanwhile, Nico Gibb, Mike Schroeder and Matt Christensen all played in the Midwest Regional Championships. The consistent Gibb was able to outlast several opponents and won four straight singles matches en route to a quarterfinal appearance where he was defeated by tournament runner up, Gustavus Adolphus's David Brown. Two of Gibb's four wins came in 10-point tiebreakers.
Schroeder was able to win his first round match over Joey Evavold of St. John's University by a score of 6-4, 6-1, but was then defeated in his next match by Justin Bowman of UW-Whitewater.
Gibb and Schroeder also made a nice run in doubles, winning three straight matches and advancing to the quarterfinals before being downed by Josh Chuba and Austin Auleta from UW-Eau Claire 8-5.
"Competition like this really sets in the drive and adrenaline, playing good players on a big stage makes you always want to play your best, said Carlson. "There is a lot at stake and everyone has been preparing hard for this so we saw a lot of good tennis this weekend."
Up next for the Oles will be a match against the University of Minnesota Club Team on October 2 beginning at 8 p.m. at the Baseline Tennis Center in Minneapolis.