Tennis off to a swinging start against its MIAC rivals

By Peter Steele

Men’s TennisWith a 9-0 sweep of St. Mary’s last Friday and then a convincing 7-2 victory over Concordia-Moorhead on Saturday, the men’s tennis team has improved to a 6-4 record on the year (2-2 MIAC). Superb doubles play on the part of the Scots was crucial to winning both matches, as it helped them get out to 3-0 leads both days.

Against Concordia, the first doubles team of Charlie Edelman ’09 and Michael Coleman ’11 prevailed 9-7, while the freshman tandem of Chris Fowler ’12 and Ali Bandeali ’12 won 8-5 at second position, and Titus Levy ’10 and Evan Elderbrock ’12 won 8-2 at the third position. Macalester also won all but the No. 1 and No. 4 singles matches.

The decisive factor against the Cobbers seemed to be depth. While Concordia’s Matt Edin and Kirby Johnson were able to give the Scots some trouble at the top of the lineup, the back end of the singles matchups were for the most part easily won by Macalester. The victory is the first for Macalester against Concordia in the last three years.

The Friday match against St. Mary’s proved to be even easier. Macalester won all nine matches, rarely allowing their opponents more than 2 games per set in singles. They exhibited similar domination in doubles.

Coach Jason Muhl has been satisfied with his team’s efforts so far, both in matches and in practice.

“The guys have been doing a phenomenal job,” he said. “I haven’t seen this kind of dedication in a team before.”

The weekend’s matches were a good opportunity for the Scots to get back on track in the MIAC following a tough loss to St John’s and a particularly heart-rending defeat in the Summit Ave. showdown against St. Thomas, in which the Scots lost two third-set tiebreakers that might have tipped the match in their favor. Next up for the team is the annual pilgrimage to the spring-break tennis mecca of Hilton Head, South Carolina, where the Scots will hone their skills in matches against teams from all over the country before returning to MIAC matchups the following week.

Women’s Tennis

The early road through the MIAC has been a tougher one to navigate for the women’s team, which despite playing fairly well has endured early season losses to St. Thomas and Concordia. Not that they haven’t been close; both losses were tough 4-5 decisions.

Against the Tommies, first singles player Angie Horner ’10 got her season off to a fast start by registering a 6-0, 6-3 victory, taking a first step toward matching or bettering her 19-1 singles record from a year ago. She was backed up by a 6-2, 6-1 victory courtesy of Amanda Wenzel ’10 at third singles and a gutsy, 6-3, 1-6, (11-9) win at fifth singles by Kelli Crescenti ’12. However, the singles split was not enough to overcome the 2-1 advantage St. Thomas enjoyed after doubles play.

The match against Concordia was similarly close. The Scots were strong at the top of the lineup, with Horner winning 6-1, 6-2 at No. 1 singles, Stephanie Lee ’09 winning 6-3, 6-1 at No. 2, and Wenzel winning 6-0, 6-2 at No. 3. The first doubles team of Horner and Lee was also able to pull out a 9-7 victory. However, the depth of the Cobbers was a bit too much to handle, as Concordia swept the lower half of the lineup in singles and also took the 2nd and 3rd doubles matches.

However, Saturday’s loss to Concordia was given a silver lining by Sunday’s 8-1 victory over Winona State. The Scots broke through the late-winter ice in this match, getting their first win of the season. Horner and Lauren Dutkiewicz ’11 both won difficult matches in third-set tiebreakers, Horner’s coming 10-8, and Dutkiewicz’s coming 10-5. The 1st doubles team of Horner and Lee and the 3rd doubles team of Wenzel and Becky Schneider ’09 also pulled out close wins by a margin of only two games.

Like the men’s team, the women will continue their season with five matches in Hilton Head, South Carolina over spring break.