Tennis third in conference champs

Greg Peterson

Led by senior Ryan Dunn, the men’s tennis team finished strongly in last weekend’s Midwest Conference Championships, held at UW-Madison’s Nielsen Tennis Stadium.
Falling only to Grinnell College’s Juan Carlos Perez on both days of competition, Dunn finished in second place in both Saturday’s No. 1 singles and – with his brother Jason, a freshman – the No. 1 doubles competition on Sunday.
The action began on Friday with the semifinals of the team competition, which paired the North Division champion Vikings against South Division runner-up Lake Forest while Grinnell faced St. Norbert in the other match-up. Grinnell blew past St. Norbert 5-0, winning all three doubles matches and every set of the singles matches that were played before the overall match was clinched.
In a match that was closer than the score indicated, Lake Forest upset Lawrence in the second semifinal. The Foresters won two of the three doubles matches, then clinched the match with quick wins on the Nos. 3 and 4 singles and a hard-fought 7-5, 6-4 victory by Chris Paterakos over Lawrence freshman Max Zlevor at No. 5 singles.
However, this 5-1 loss for the Vikings left the No. 1 and No. 2 singles – strengths for Kevin Girard’s team – unfinished and therefore uncounted.
Rebounding from their loss to Lake Forest, Lawrence took on St. Norbert, grabbing third place in a close 5-4 win. The key for the Vikings in their close win was their play on the higher courts – winning the top three singles matches and the top two doubles matches, the Vikings followed the play of Ryan Dunn (23-4 overall, 4-0 MWC) and his brother Jason (20-8, 4-0 MWC) to a third-place finish.
Grinnell rolled by Lake Forest in another 5-0 sweep to take the championship, and their domination continued on Saturday and Sunday in the individual competition.
Despite the strong play of the Dunn brothers, Grinnell remained at the top, winning all three doubles competitions and all but the No. 3 singles. Ryan Dunn lost in a heartbreaking 7-6, 6-4 final to Perez, then joined his brother in a less-heartbreaking 6-1, 6-1 loss in the doubles final to Perez and Dmitriy Glumov.
With Ryan Dunn graduating, the Vikings will lose their strongest player, but the team is loaded with younger players ready to fill the gap. Jason Dunn, a freshman, finished the year strongly at No. 3 singles and No. 1 doubles, and sophomore Caleb Ray won the No. 2 singles consolation title at the MWC Championships. Lawrence (16-9, 4-0 MWC) looks set to continue their recent run of high achievement in next year’s campaign, but for the moment, the rackets are being set aside.

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