Tennis season set for exciting finish

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With winning records and relatively young talent, the men’s and women’s tennis teams are on track to finish off a successful season, based on both their MIAC record and their overall play in general. Both teams are in great position to make the MIAC playoffs.The men started their season late January in Iowa against Central College and Luther College. After a close 5-4 victory over Central, the Scots lost steam, succumbing to Luther 0-9. They then headed back to Macalester for their first home match of the season, where they beat Martin Luther 9-0. Over 15 more games, including six over spring break against teams from around the country on Hilton Head Island, S.C., the men amassed a record of 10-8, going 3-3 in the MIAC.

One of the advantages for the men’s team is its comparative youth. Of the top six players, four are currently sophomores or freshmen. Mike Coleman ’11, Chris Fowler ’12, Ali Bandeali ’12, and Evan Elderbrock ’12, the second, third, fourth, and fifth players on the team, respectively, hold between them a singles record of 46-21. The only losses for the men next year will be number one player Charlie Edelman ’09, and Reed Larson ’09.

While the men play well both home and at neutral venues, their weakness has been in away matches. Their record is a disappointing 1-4 on opponents’ courts.

The women have also had a good season. Though it began with four straight losses, including two in MIAC matches, the women went on to beat a much larger Winona State University 8-1, sparking a winning streak of 10 straight matches, including all five of their Hilton Head games, before finally losing to Gustavus Adolphus 2-7 at home.

The women attribute their surge to figuring out the team dynamic.

“We had a rough start, losing our first four matches, just figuring out our team’s strengths and weaknesses,” said Kelli Crescenti ’12, the 4th ranked player for the Scots. “After that, we won 10 straight matches. It helped to support each other a lot on the court. The confidence that we were going to win also helped our performances.”

The women are currently ranked 5th in the MIAC, while the men are tied for 6th with St. Thomas, who has a better overall record than Macalester, but an identical conference record. Both teams have a chance to better their conference records before the MIAC playoffs, which start on May 1.

The women have two more conference games, and the men have three. All remaining games for both teams are against schools that the Scots have not yet played this year. It will be a tough end to the season considering that all the matches that the teams have yet to play are against higher-ranked schools.

“There isn’t really any easy team in the MIAC,” Crescenti said. “We have to play our best, or at least well, against all the teams in every game. There are really a lot of good players out there.”

The next scheduled match for both teams is home this afternoon against St. Olaf. The result will most likely be a significant factor in determining both teams’ standings going into the MIAC playoffs.