KAILUA KONA, Hawaii – The Carleton College men’s tennis team played its first outdoor match of 2017 and dropped a 6-3 result to California Lutheran University, the No. 16 team in the west region.
“I take a lot of positives away from the match,” said Carleton head coach Stephan Zweifel. “We are adjusting well to the outdoor conditions, and the guys are in great shape to handle the slow courts and heat.”
All three doubles matches were tightly contested, but the Knights (7-1) ended up on the short end in each. Ezra Frankel (Sr./Lincoln, Mass./Belmont Hill School) and Aaron Goodman (So./Minneapolis, Minn./St. Louis Park) lost 9-7 at first doubles, while Kevin Mei (Jr./Ann Arbor, Mich./Huron) and Jordon O'Kelly (So./Lake Forest, Ill./Lake Forest) fell by an 8-6 tally. Kevin Hurley (Jr./Novi, Mich./Univ. of Detroit Jesuit) and Sahil Chhugani (Fy./Rochester, Minn./Century) came up short, 8-5, at the third slot.
The Knights closed the gap by winning the first two singles matches to conclude. Goodman improved to 6-0 in 2017 as he prevailed 6-1, 6-1. Meanwhile, Chhugani won for the fifth time in six tries as he posted a 6-2, 6-2 triumph.
Cal Lutheran clinched the team result with three more singles wins, including a tiebreaker victory at first singles. With those results, the Kingsmen handed Carleton its first team setback of the season.
Although the team decision was already in Cal Lutheran’s favor, fans at the Holua Tennis Center were unable to pry themselves away from the match played at fourth singles. Carleton’s Patton McClelland (Sr./Rock Hill, S.C./Charlotte Latin School) came back to win a three-set marathon and remain undefeated this season with a 3-6, 6-0, 6-4 result.
“In typical Patton fashion, his match today was as fast paced as a Ken Burns documentary on the history of soap,” noted Zweifel. “But he came through again in a gritty three-hour battle.”
The Knights next take the courts on Tuesday, March 21 against University of Hawaii-Hilo, a NCAA Division II squad.