SARTELL, Minn. — With the match hanging on the final singles contest of the afternoon, senior McCoy Becker (Ojai, Calif./Thacher School) lifted the Carleton College men’s tennis team to a 5-4 victory over St. Cloud State University, a NCAA Division II program.
The Knights (4-2) jumped out to a crucial 2-1 lead after doubles. Becker and Erik Johnson (So./Grand Forks, N.D./Red River) posted an 8-3 result at first doubles over Joao Poli and Victor Kasak, a duo that has already beaten four MIAC tandems this month.
Mauricio Gonzalez (Jr./La Paz, Bolivia/American Cooperative School) and Richard Yeker (So./Hawthorn Woods, Ill./Adlai E Stevenson) notched the other doubles triumph by an 8-3 margin.
"I was very impressed with our doubles play today,” said Carleton head coach Stephan Zweifel. “We would have swept the Olympic medals in ice dancing with our teamwork, grace, and garish uniforms."
The contest stayed close throughout singles play as the Huskies picked up wins at first, second, and fifth singles. The Knights countered with a 6-3, 6-3 victory from Ezra Frankel (Fy./Lincoln, Mass./Belmont Hill School) at sixth singles and a clutch triumph by Christian Nagy (So./Fairway, Kan./Pembroke Hill School) in the third slot.
Nagy captured the first set only to watch his opponent knot things up before the Knight sophomore notched a 6-3, 2-6, 10-7 decision. "In the second set, Christian was as flustered as Miss Kansas trying to explain the functioning of the World Bank. But like a consummate professional, he came through in the third-set tie breaker with dramatic fashion."
Those results left the team scored deadlocked heading into the final singles bout. "A sense of calm swept over the team when McCoy stepped onto the court with the match tied, 4-4,” explained Zweifel. “That fellow gives up games as infrequently as a black hole gives up light."
Becker indeed delivered and improved to 4-0 on the season with his 6-3, 6-4 victory.
The Knights have one more match before pausing for winter term finals as Carleton faces Bethel University on Friday, Feb. 28 in Lakeville, Minn. The team will then step away from competition until they head to Hilton Head Island, S.C. for 10 matches during Spring Break.