SARTELL, Minn. – The Carleton College men’s tennis team improved to 5-1 on the season after prevailing in a pair of matches on Sunday. McCoy Becker (So./Ojai, Calif./Thacher School) had wins in both singles and doubles as the Knights defeated Saint John’s University, 6-3, in the MIAC opener. In the nightcap against Division II program St. Cloud State University, Paul Cooper (Jr./Burr Ridge, Ill./Hinsdale Central) completed the doubles-singles sweep as the Knights won, 7-2.
Carleton’s depth helped the Knights record the victory in the conference lid-lifter. Host Saint John’s won at first doubles and then again at first and second singles, but the Knights dominated the rest of the way.
Cooper and Peter Dunn (Sr./Winnetka, Ill./North Shore Country Day) struggled atop the doubles lineup, falling 8-1, but Carleton’s other tandems—Austin Jiang (Jr./Green Bay, Wis./Bay Port) and Avery Rux (Fy./Austin, Texas/Home School) plus Becker and Jon Aranda (Sr./Los Angeles, Calif./Loyola)—posted 8-2 triumphs.
In singles, the Johnnies’ regionally-ranked player, Fabricio Moncada, defeated Dunn 6-3 and 6-1, while the second singles match went to a third set before settling into the Saint John’s column.
The rest of the way it was all Knights as the other four singles matches were decided in straight sets with Becker’s 6-0, 6-0 triumph the most dominant of the contests.
"New York may have its ‘Linsanity,’ but Northfield has its ‘Mcfrenzy,’” said Carleton head coach Stephan Zweifel. “From the moment he ordered breakfast, until he threw his sweat soaked uniform to the fans, McCoy was simply unstoppable today."
Carleton faced a formidable opponent in the day’s second match as the Huskies of St. Cloud State have received bids to the NCAA Division II tournament in 10 consecutives seasons.
St. Cloud started quickly, winning two of the three doubles matches. The lone victory for Carleton came from Dunn and Cooper at second doubles by an 8-5 margin.
"In their first doubles match of the day, Peter and Paul communicated as effectively as a goldfish and a hamster,” noted Zweifel. “Fortunately they were able to pull it together in their second match and played as if they had a single brain between the two of them."
Trailing by a point, the Knights removed any doubt about the outcome by winning all six singles matches.
At first singles, Rux needed three sets to take down Joao Orsi—ranked No. 13 among D-II players in the region—prevailing 7-6, 3-6 and 10-5. The other five triumphs all came in straight sets, including Jiang defeating No. 15 Elliot O’Neal 6-4, 6-2.
"Although his singles match was not always pretty, Avery has the self preservation instincts of a wildebeest that has seen a member of his herd taken down by a pack of lions," Zweifel said.
Carleton, ranked No. 10 in the central region, faces No. 13 Grinnell College next Sunday, Feb. 26.
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