LU tennis smashes way to MWC tournament

Andy York

The Lawrence University men’s tennis team swept away conference foes Carroll and Beloit last weekend to qualify for the Midwest Conference Tournament, to be held this weekend at Neilson Tennis Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin.The Vikings had no problem last Friday night as they crushed Carroll 7-0. Saturday morning, the Vikings kept the momentum going and send Beloit home with a 7-0 loss.

The two wins put LU at 3-1 in the North Division of the MWC this season, good enough for second place.

Their only conference loss came from Ripon, who narrowly defeated LU 4-3 early in the season. Ripon is 4-0 and heads to Madison as the first seed from the North.

The other two teams in the tournament are south division winner Grinnell, who handed the Vikings a 6-1 loss two weekends ago, and Knox, who the Vikings defeated 5-2 in early March.

The team portion of the tournament began this morning. Lawrence faced Grinnell at eight, and Ripon faced Knox. The two winners will advance to the team championship game, which will be played at one this afternoon.

On Saturday the rest of the MWC teams begin play in the doubles tournament. On Sunday, the tournament concludes with the singles matches.

While seeds for the tournament were not available at press time, it is expected that number one singles player Jai Arora and number two singles player Tom Lipari will both be seeded second, as they only have one conference loss a piece.

Numbers three and four, Brian Hilgeman and Nick Beyler, should be ranked near the top of the list as well. Both players have had successful freshman seasons and have won a majority of their matches in the conference.

Five and six singles Dan Putterman and Dave Carter will also compete for the Vikings and will be seeded in the top half of the bracket.

The doubles seeds should look very similar. Arora and Lipari will be ranked second again. Hilgeman and Beyler will be ranked first as they are undefeated together in MWC play. Carter and Putterman should be near the middle of the pack, but will be a strong duo at the tournament.

The Vikings have never been to the Conference Tournament since the format was revised in 1998. The last LU title in men’s tennis came in 1968.

This year’s Vikings have lots of youth, but they also have poise. Look for the Vikings to come back to Appleton with at least one title under their belts.