Sponsored by Tennis (men)
After sweeping a pair of home matches on Saturday, the Luther men’s tennis team hit the road the following day to face Grinnell in a battle of regionally ranked foes. The Norse entered the match as the No. 12 ranked team in the Central Region while Grinnell currently sits in the No. 15 slot.
Tyler Zinnecker and Aaron Gendron quickly went up a break at No. 3 and extended the advantage to two breaks midway through the match. Both teams broke serve back and forth a couple times, but the Luther duo earned a hold in the final game for an (8-5) victory, defeating Colin Johnson and Aaron Lapkin. Scott Sundstrom and Ramesh Karki led 4-1 at No. 1, but then fell behind 5-7 before rallying for a dramatic (9-7) victory over Elliot Czarnecki and Michael Cole. Nick Mozena and James Ayer also rallied back to 5-6 and were on serve after trailing 1-5 before falling (8-5) to Ishan Bhadkamkar and Benjamin Charney at No. 2.
Leading 2-1, Luther received its third point from Sundstrom, who won the final eight games in a (6-3, 6-0) victory against Czarnecki. Karki also won a long first set at No. 2 but ended up splitting sets and headed into a decisive third set. Matt Bellio also won his first set at No. 5 and then split sets, so both courts headed into third sets. Karki finally started to pull away and led 4-1 when Grinnell wrapped up a (4-6, 6-4, 6-4) victory at No. 5 to narrow the Norse advantage to 3-2. Karki finished off Eric Ritter (6-2, 3-6, 6-1) to give Luther a 4-1 lead.
Mozena struggled in his opening set, quickly falling behind Daniel Nellis. Gendron performed well in the early going of his match, but could not sustain the momentum. Mozena then rallied back to take his second set and continued to play well the rest of the way, winning (0-6, 6-1, 6-2) to clinch the match. Gendron dropped a (7-5, 6-2) decision at No. 4 to give Grinnell its final point of the day. Ayer closed out the match with a (6-3, 6-2) victory over Connor Cunningham to make it a 6-3 final.
Luther is now 19-5 overall this season. The Norse complete IIAC play this week, hosting Dubuque on Wednesday, April 25 and matching up with Coe in Decorah on Friday, April 27. Luther will also travel to play Gustavus Adolphus on Sunday, April 29.
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Questions? Contact David Blanchard, post_to_results, 563-387-1586