Parker Burman – Staff Writer
The Gustavus men’s tennis team secured a 7-2 win over the Carleton Knights to take sole control of first place in the MIAC. They took advantage of a hot start in the doubles matches and solid singles play to take down the Knights and get themselves in a great spot as they head towards the MIAC playoffs which begins in just over a week.
“We know going into every year that Carleton is going to be one of the top teams in the MIAC, so we definitely look forward to playing them every year and we know it’s always going to be a tight match, so getting the win is always big, moving into playoffs with some momentum,” Senior Nick Aney said.
Coming into the match, Gustavus and Carleton were the two hottest teams in the MIAC as they both stood undefeated. The Gusties needed some great tennis play, if they were going to continue their undefeated regular season. “Carleton is a great team with a lot of great players, so were hoping to jump on them early in the doubles,” Senior Drew Elofson said.
The Gusties did just that, jumping out to a 3-0 lead with a sweep of the doubles matches. The number one doubles, which featured the combination of Junior Alex Budde and Aney won their match 8-6. A 8-7 thriller in the second doubles match followed which paired Junior Daniel Fouchier and Junior Sourabh Terakanambi. To close it out, it was Elofson and First-year Josh Christensen who dominated their match to get an 8-4 win. “Individually, I thought I played super well and so did Drew. We were super solid, got an early break and didn’t look back after,” Christensen said.
“He makes life easy out there for me and does everything pretty amazing. It’s so nice to go to him in between the points and there is no negativity coming from him, just always positive,” Elofson said when talking about his younger partner.
After the 3-0 doubles sweep the Gusties headed to singles matches, needing to secure 2 wins to win the match. They got that and more as they cruised to 4 out of 6 singles wins to take the match. Senior Indraneel Raut led things off as he won 7-5, 7-5 to secure a point. Aney was back at it once again, as he took a 6-4, 6-2 win. “I think I have been doing a good job of putting a lot of pressure on the guys I’ve been playing, and then just playing aggressive tennis and getting in to the net and trying to finish points and keep them off balance. That’s been working well lately,” said Aney.
“Coming into the match, Gustavus and Carleton were the two hottest teams in the MIAC as the both stood undefeated. The Gusties needed some great tennis plays…”
Next, it was Budde, who like Aney continued right where he left off with a dominant 6-2, 6-3 win. To finish it off First-year Rafael Costa chipped in a point for the Gusties as he handled his opponent for a 6-4, 6-2 win. Winning 4 of the singles matches was huge for the Gusties as they secured the match and now have put themselves in a great position with playoffs right around the corner. “Was a very good all around match from the team. We came out hot in doubles, with lots of energy and it paid off. Starting out 3-0 is huge. In singles everyone battled super hard, even if the matches didn’t go our way, and we came out on top 7-2,” Christensen said looking back on the match.
Now it’s crunch time for this team as they look to continue their quest towards winning the MIAC playoffs and a national championship. “We definitely want to win the MIAC playoff and get an automatic bid. Once we close the regular season here, that is where our focus is going to shift too,” Aney said.
“We’re going to have to take it one match at a time and be very intentional in how we practice. We are going to put our heads down and focus on what we can and worry about what we need to do strategically to win points. Try to pump the positivity,” Elofson said.
This team has shown it has what it takes to make a deep run, now it’s time for them to go out there and do it. When asked how he would describe this team, Elofson had one simple phrase, “Let it Go and Let it Fly.” The Gusties will look to do that as they aim to achieve their lofty goals in the weeks to come.