Sponsored by Tennis (men)
The Luther men’s tennis team saw its seven match winning streak come to an end with a 5-4 loss to St. Olaf in a four hour marathon. The Oles won two of the three doubles matches and held on for the road victory.
After dropping an (8-4) decision at No. 1 doubles, Luther tallied its first point of the day when Tyler Zinnecker and Aaron Gendron won (8-4) over Jack Dutton and Jon Foss at No. 3. Nick Mozena and Quinn Foley rallied from a 1-5 deficit at No. 2 to grab a 6-5 lead before falling (8-6) to Stephen Nolan and Knute Gundersen, giving St. Olaf a 2-1 edge heading into the singles match.
Scott Sundstrom leveled the match at 2-2 with a (6-1, 6-3) win against Gundersen at No. 1 singles while the other five matches would all eventually be forced to a deciding third set. St. Olaf won first sets at four of the other five spots and looked to be in control before the Norse won second set tie-breakers from Mozena, Matt Bellio, and Gendron to swing the momentum of the match. Torstein Jystad also dropped his first set and was down a break in the second before pushing his opponent to a final set. James Ayer was the other Luther player to win his opening set, but dropped the second set and also went into a third set.
Jystad pulled out a win over Charlie Reinertsen (3-6, 6-4, 6-2) at No. 6 to give Luther its first lead of the day at 3-2. Ayer was also a winner at No. 5, racing past Foss in the third set for a (6-4, 3-6, 6-0) victory.
With a 4-2 lead, Luther needed one more match for the win, but was unable to get a fifth point. Gendron fought off a pair of match points in his second set, but dropped a (6-4, 6-7 (7), 6-1) decision to Nolan at No. 3 to make the score 4-3. Mozena led 4-2 in a deciding third set but was forced to use an injury timeout and finally retired due to severe cramping with the score at 5-5 in the third. This gave John Wight the (6-4, 6-7 (5), 5-5 retire) win at No. 2 to make the score 4-4.
Bellio trailed 1-4 in the third, but broke back and evened his match at 4-4. After St. Olaf’s Andy Catania held serve, he had a pair of meet points against Bellio, who responded each time and brought the match to 5-5. Bellio then broke for 6-5, but Catania responded with a break of his own, fittingly sending the match into a deciding third set tie-breaker. Bellio fought off one more meet point before falling (6-1, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (4)).
Luther is now 13-4 overall this season and remains 4-0 in the IIAC. The Norse will travel to Eau Claire, Wisconsin to play the UW-Eau Claire Blugolds on Friday, April 6 in a battle of regionally ranked squads.
Questions? Contact David Blanchard, post_to_results, 563-387-1586