The Carleton men's tennis team won a trio of conference matches last week to put a strong finish on a great regular season. Thanks to the three MIAC wins, the Knights locked up a second-place finish and a first-round bye in the 2013 MIAC Men's Tennis Playoffs. Paul Cooper (Sr./Burr Ridge, Ill./Hinsdale Central) led the way, winning all three of his singles matches and going 2-1 as part of the Knights' top doubles tandem, while filling his role as a senior captain admirably. For his performance, Cooper was named the MIAC Men's Tennis Athlete-of-the-Week.
Cooper got off to a great start during a busy three-match in four days stretch by scoring a 6-3, 6-2, win at No. 3 singles and an 8-6 victory at No. 1 doubles to lead Carleton to an 8-1 win over cross-town rival St. Olaf. He followed that up with a 6-2, 6-2, No. 2 singles win Saturday in a 6-3 win over Saint John's, and Sunday he claimed a 6-3, 7-5, No. 3 singles win and a 9-7 No. 1 doubles in to beat St. Thomas 7-2 and edge the Tommies for the No. 2 seed. This season, Cooper is 9-6 in singles play and an even 9-9 in doubles competitions.
Thanks to its three regular-season-ending victories, Carleton completed a 14-5 campaign, and a near-perfect 8-1 record in conference play, finishing as the runner-up behind undefeated Gustavus (22-9, 9-0 MIAC). The Knights will head to St. Peter, Minn., for the 2013 MIAC Playoffs and will have a bye during Friday's quarterfinal round. Cooper and his teammates will await one of Friday's winners in Saturday's semifinal, which will start at 9 a.m. Carleton will face the highest remaining seed following the quarterfinal action.