NORTHFIELD, Minn. — The Carleton College men’s tennis team returned to their winning ways and dispatched Hamline University, 7-2, Friday in a home match at Bell Field. The Knights were coming into their first conference match since Feb 28 and extended their record to 12-7 overall and 4-0 in MIAC action with the victory.
"It was fun to get back to conference play, and we felt today's match marked the start of a strong spring season for us," said Carleton head coach Stephan Zweifel.
Andrew Hwang (Jr./Brookfield, Wis./University School) and Erik Johnson (So./ Grand Forks, N.D./ Red River) started strong, taking the first doubles match with a score of 8-2. After a tough loss at second doubles, Carleton’s team of Ben Huang (So./Sammamish, Wash./Skyline) and Christian Purnell (Fy./Portland, Ore./The Academy) rallied the squad by taking third doubles with an 8-1 victory.
"Saying that Ben and Christian played good doubles is like describing the movie Citizen Kane as being about a boy who likes to go sledding,” offered Zweifel. “The superlatives simply escape me."
It was then that the Knights took over the match and rolled through singles competition, winning five of the six matches. Hwang won 6-1, 6-3 followed by a Mauricio Gonzalez (Jr./La Paz, Bolivia/American Cooperative School) victory 6-3, 6-2 at second singles.
In third singles, Patton McClelland (Fy, Rock Hill, N.C./The Latin School) was sterling, beating his Piper opponent 6-0, 6-1. Mark Conrad (Fy./Plymouth, Minn./ Armstrong) playing in his first home varsity match, was impressive with a 6-2, 6-1 win at fifth singles, putting the match away for the Knights.
"Mark's style of play has captivated us all. Not many players can blend ‘Minnesota nice’ with the bravado of a cast member from the Real Housewives of LA," said Zweifel.
Nelson Wolf (Sr./Faribault, Minn./Shattuck-St Mary’s School) rounded out the scoring for Carleton with a 6-2, 6-2 win at sixth singles.
The Knights continue their busy weekend—three matches in three days—with a contest against Saint John’s University on Saturday, April 12. This match will be played on the courts at The College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn. starting at 1:00 pm.