NORTHFIELD, Minn. – From three down to two.
Carleton College and visiting St. Olaf College were both undefeated in conference play heading into Wednesday’s showdown on the Bell Field Tennis Courts. The Knights posted a 7-2 victory and join Gustavus Adolphus as the lone remaining undefeated squads in the MIAC.
"As expected, the match against the Oles was a high caliber showdown between the east and west sides of the gritty town of Northfield,” explained Carleton head coach Stephan Zweifel. “Our guys had to really lift their game as they battled through a number of close matches."
Carleton extended its win streak to eight matches after defeating a third straight regionally-ranked opponent by the 7-2 margin. Over the last six days the No. 10 Knights have beaten No. 12 Luther, No. 17 Coe, and No. 11 St. Olaf.
Carleton put itself in a great position to win by sweeping the three doubles matches. Peter Dunn (Sr./Winnetka, Ill./North Shore Country Day) and Paul Cooper (Jr./Burr Ridge, Ill./Hinsdale Central) topped the Oles’ ranked tandem of Andy Catania and John Wight, 8-5. Jon Aranda (Sr./Los Angeles, Calif./Loyola) and Avery Rux (Fy./Austin, Texas/Home School) paired up for the first time and posted an 8-4 win at second doubles. Andrew Hwang (Fy./Brookfield, Wis./University School) and Austin Jiang (Jr./Green Bay, Wis./Bay Port) improved to 5-0 as a tandem with an 8-6 victory at the third slot.
Rux picked up a 6-2, 6-1 win at second singles, putting the Knights just one point from the team victory. Cooper won his seventh straight match, and McCoy Becker (So./Ojai, Calif./Thacher School) also posted the straight-set win to remain undefeated in MIAC matches.
Jiang prevailed in a first-set tiebreaker, then the reigning MIAC player-of-the-week closed his fourth singles match out 7-6 (7-4) and 6-1.
Wight took the opening set from Dunn at first singles, then rallied to force a second-set tiebreaker, eventually prevailing 6-1, 7-6 (7-4).
Everyone’s attention turned to the third singles match between Hwang and St. Olaf’s Stephen Nolan. The contest was marked by extremely long rallies and needed both a first-set tiebreaker and third-set super tiebreaker. Nolan eventually picked up the victory, 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, and 10-7.
The last two MIAC unbeatens will square off this Saturday, April 21 in St. Peter, Minn.