ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Carleton College men’s tennis team closed the regular season with a 7-2 triumph over the University of St. Thomas in a matchup of regionally-ranked squads. The victory locked up the No. 2 seed and the coveted first-round bye for the upcoming MIAC Playoffs. This is the 11th consecutive season that the Knights have posted a top-2 finish in the conference standings.
"A talented St. Thomas team, and the windy conditions, proved to be a perfect test for our last regular season match of 2013,” said Carleton head coach Stephan Zweifel. “The guys had to dig deep and stay focused under difficult conditions to pull out this match."
Carleton won two of the three doubles matches, including a 9-7 victory by Paul Cooper (Sr./Burr Ridge, Ill./Hinsdale Central) and Andrew Hwang (So./Brookfield, Wis./University School) at first doubles as they knocked off the No. 15-ranked duo in the region.
Alex Chin (Sr./Hingham, Mass./Hingham) and Austin Jiang (Sr./Green Bay, Wis./Bay Port) prevailed 8-5 at the second slot. That was the 60th doubles victory of Jiang’s collegiate career, most by a Knight over the last decade. He is 119-41 overall (including 59-21 during singles play) and is just one triumph behind Winston Park ’10 for most total wins over that time frame.
Once today’s match turned to singles, the Knights’ depth took over.
Erik Johnson (Fy./Grand Forks, N.D./Red River) notched a 7-5, 6-3 win at the sixth spot. McCoy Becker (Jr./Ojai, Calif./Thacher School) won his fourth straight match, this time posting a 6-4, 6-1 result. Cooper and Hwang prevailed at the third and fourth spots, respectively, by posting scores of 6-3, 7-5 and 6-2, 6-1.
Chin tallied the final team point for Carleton with a fabulous come-from-behind victory at second singles. After dropping the first set, 6-3, he battled back to win the next set, 6-1. In the super tiebreaker, Chin continued his new-found dominance with a 10-1 result.
"Alex is the Rasputin of Carleton tennis,” said Zweifel. “Ace him, lob him, pass him, leave him for being hopelessly behind in the match, and he still manages to cling to the bridge pilings and find a way to win."
The MIAC Men’s Tennis Playoffs are scheduled for next weekend in St. Peter, Minn. The Knights will be on the court for the semifinals at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 4. A victory there would advance the squad to the finals at 2:30 p.m. with the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament at stake.