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Result: L 4-5

Men's Tennis hosts MIAC Playoffs Semifinals vs. Univ. of St. Thomas

Thursday, May 4th, 2017 – 3:30 p.m. at Northfield, Minn. - Pat Lamb Tennis Courts

Knights rally back but fall to Tommies in MIAC semifinals

Patton McClelland
Patton McClelland
Photo: Hugh O'Connor '20

NORTHFIELD, Minn. – After finding themselves in a 3-0 hole, the Carleton College men’s tennis team battled back to level its MIAC Playoffs semifinal match vs. University of St. Thomas at 4-4. The season came down to the final singles match, and the last Tommie on the court prevailed in three sets.

“I have always enjoyed coaching against Terry Peck and his teams,” said Carleton head coach Stephan Zweifel. “It was another emotional and physical battle, but everybody walked away feeling they got their money's worth from the competition."

St. Thomas (14-3) swept the three doubles matches, including a crucial 9-8 win at the second spot in the lineup. That result loomed large as, despite the deficit, the Knights (14-4) refused to give up and battled to the very end.

Jordon O'Kelly (So./Lake Forest, Ill./Lake Forest) got the Carleton comeback started with a convincing 6-3, 6-1 victory at No. 2 singles.

Aaron Goodman (So./Minneapolis, Minn./St. Louis Park) kept the momentum with the Knights thanks to his 6-1, 6-4 result at No. 3 singles. He trailed 4-1 in the second set before closing with a flurry. "We have come to appreciate that Aaron has the aggressive instincts—and eating habits—of an African lion," said Zweifel.

Patton McClelland (Sr./Rock Hill, S.C./Charlotte Latin School) then knotted the team competition at 3-3 with his 7-5, 6-2 triumph at No. 4 singles. It was the 66th singles victory of his career, extending his own team record.

The Tommies moved back in front thanks to a straight-set win at No. 1 singles, but Sahil Chhugani (Fy./Rochester, Minn./Century) held off a late push from his No. 5 singles opponent and added a 6-2, 7-5 victory to the Carleton column.

That meant the match was to be determined by the result at No. 6 singles, in what became a grueling three-setter that left one participant bloodied before the match concluded at 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 in St. Thomas favor. The Tommies picked up their first victory over the Knights since April 12, 2002, snapping a streak of 19 consecutive regular- and post-season losses to Carleton as St. Thomas advanced to the finals of the MIAC Playoffs this Saturday at Gustavus Adolphus College.

Today’s result also lowered the curtain on the collegiate playing careers of the four seniors on the Carleton roster:
• McClelland not only leaves as the Knights all-time leader in singles victories, but he also picked up his third straight All-MIAC award earlier in the day.
• Ezra Frankel (Sr./Lincoln, Mass./Belmont Hill School) received up his second consecutive All-MIAC honor for doubles.
Mark Conrad (Sr./Plymouth, Minn./Robbinsdale Armstrong) ranked fourth on the Knights with seven singles wins this season. He tied Goodman for the top singles winning percentage on the squad (.875) this season.
• Christian Purnell (Sr./Portland, Ore./The Academy) wrapped up his time as a Knight with a very impressive .833 career win percentage (10-2) in singles matches to go along with an 18-8 (.692) ledger in doubles.
• Each member of this quartet also received recognition as an ITA Scholar Athlete at least once in their respective careers

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