Joey MacGibbon, Gustavus

Apple Valley, Minn. / Apple Valley
Week of: 2012-05-08

Gustavus had a great weekend, adding the MIAC Men's Tennis Playoffs championship to its tremendous season with two wins on its home court. Sophomore Joey MacGibbon had a big hand in the victory, winning two doubles matches and a singles match to help the Gusties beat St. Thomas in the semifinals and Carleton in the championship match. For his role in the postseason title, MacGibbon has been named the MIAC Men's Tennis Athlete-of-the-Week.

MacGibbon teamed up with Brad Entwistle at No. 3 doubles for a pair of important wins. Their 8-3 victory over the Tommies' third doubles team helped Gustavus advance to the championship match with a 5-1 semifinal win. MacGibbon and Entwistle came up big again in the title match in clutch fashion, beating Carleton's No. 3 team in a 9-8 (1) thriller to give the Gusties a sweep of the doubles matches. He then added a 6-2, 6-0, straight-sets win at No. 5 singles to give Gustavus its fourth point en route to a 5-0 championship win. This season, MacGibbon is 17-5 overall and 8-0 in the MIAC in singles play and 13-3 overall and 8-0 in the conference in doubles competition.

Thanks to the postseason title, MacGibbon and the Gusties (21-7, 9-0 MIAC) received the MIAC's automatic bid to the 2012 NCAA Division III Men's Tennis Tournament. Gustavus will enjoy a first-round bye at the regional held in Whitewater, Wis., and await the winner between UW-Whitewater and Concordia-Wis. Gustavus' second-round match will begin Saturday at 2 p.m., and would advance to Sunday's 1 p.m. regional final with a victory.
 

Knute Gundersen, St. Olaf

Bayside, Wis. / University School of Milwaukee
Week of: 2012-05-01

The St. Olaf men's tennis team completed its terrific regular season last week by locking up a third place finish, and the No. 3 seed in the 2012 MIAC Men's Tennis Playoffs. Knute Gundersen (Bayside, Wis./University School of Milwaukee) had an impressive week, leading the Oles at No. 1 singles. He fought back from a one-set deficit to score a crucial win in a 5-4 win over Saint John's, and he gave conference champion Gustavus all it could handle in the top singles spot as well. For his performance, Gundersen has been named the MIAC Men's Tennis Athlete-of-the-Week.

Gundersen's win against the Johnnies' top singles player, Fabricio Moncada, was both an instant classic, and essential to the Oles' team win. After dropping the first set 4-6, Gundersen was victorious in a second-set tiebreaker - 7-6 (9-7) - and completed the comeback with a 10-7 win in the third set. He also put up an admirable fight against the Gusties' Amrik Donkena in a 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, loss in which Gundersen had a pair of set points in the first set that could have altered the outcome. This season, Gundersen has compiled a 9-7 overall singles record and a 6-3 mark in MIAC play alternating in the top two spots in St. Olaf's lineup. He also has a 10-6 overall doubles record in 2012.

The win against the Johnnies helped St. Olaf lock up third place in the conference standings with a 14-3 overall record and a 7-2 mark in MIAC play, with its only losses coming to Gustavus and Carleton. The Oles will be the No. 3 seed in this week's MIAC Playoffs - held Friday and Saturday at Gustavus in St. Peter. St. Olaf opens the postseason tournament with a rematch against Saint John's Friday at 3 p.m. The semifinals and championship match will take place Saturday at 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., respectively.

 

Michael Lunka, Saint Mary's

Eagan, Minn. / Henry Sibley
Week of: 2012-04-24

The Saint Mary's men's tennis team wrapped up the 2012 regular season last week with a pair of narrow losses, but junior Michael Lunka (Eagan, Minn./Henry Sibley) closed out the campaign with a great individual effort, winning all four of his matches. Lunka went 2-0 against St. Olaf and Macalester in singles play, winning both in straight sets, and he teamed up with Bobby Steingraeber to put the finishing touches on an 8-1 MIAC doubles campaign with two more wins. For his performance, Lunka has been named the MIAC Men's Tennis Athlete-of-the-Week.

Lunka scored a 6-2, 6-2, win at No. 1 singles Saturday in the Cardinals' 6-3 loss to St. Olaf in Owatonna, and he and Steingraeber were also victorious at No. 1 doubles with an 8-4 victory as Lunka was responsible for two of the three SMU victories. Saint Mary's also lost a narrow 5-4 match to Macalester, with Lunka providing half the points in the team score. He was a 6-4, 6-2, winner at No. 1 singles against the Scots, and again teamed with Steingraeber for an 8-5 win at No. 1 doubles.

Lunka finished the season 11-10 overall and 3-6 in the MIAC in singles play, and he and Steingraeber had a marvelous season, going 19-2 overall and 8-1 against conference foes. As a team, Saint Mary's finished the 2012 campaign with an overall record of 9-12, and it was 2-7 in the MIAC and is currently in seventh place in the standings. Five of the Cardinals' 12 losses came by 5-4 or 6-3 scores.

Austin Jiang, Carleton

Green Bay, Wis. / Bay Port
Week of: 2012-04-17

The Carleton men's tennis team had a busy weekend with three big wins in two days, including a pair of victories over regionally ranked opponent. Throughout the week, junior Austin Jiang (Green Bay, Wis./Bay Port) was one of the big reasons for the Knights' success, winning three singles matches while only losing one set all week, and two doubles matches to contribute major team points to Carleton's efforts. For his performance, Jiang has been named the MIAC Men's Tennis Athlete-of-the-Week.

 

Jiang got off to a great start on the road on Friday, helping the Knights score a 7-2 conference win over Saint Mary's thanks to his 6-4, 7-6, win at No. 1 singles. He added a 6-2, 6-2, win at No. 4 singles and an 8-5 doubles victory in Saturday's 7-2 win over Luther. He also won an exciting 6-1, 3-6, 10-6, match at No. 5 singles and an 8-2 doubles match against Coe as Carleton added one more 7-2 victory to its weekend total. This season, Jiang has been terrific for the Knights with a 12-3 singles record (3-0 MIAC) and he is 4-0 in doubles play with current partner Andrew Hwang.

The three wins helped Carleton improve to 17-3 overall and remain among the ranks of the unbeaten in the MIAC with a 5-0 conference record. The Knights also clinched a bid to the 2012 MIAC Men's Tennis Playoffs. Jiang and his teammates will try to continue their success this week with a pair of huge matches on the schedule against the league's other two undefeated teams. They host rival St. Olaf (11-1, 4-0 MIAC) Wednesday at 4 p.m., and Saturday they travel to St. Peter to face defending MIAC champion Gustavus (15-7, 6-0 MIAC) with the start time scheduled for 12:30 p.m.

David Croonquist, Hamline

North Oaks, Minn. / Mounds View
Week of: 2012-04-10

The Hamline men's tennis team has had a faced a tough schedule in the early part of the men's conference season, but junior David Croonquist (North Oaks, Minn./Mounds View) continues to give the Pipers optimism with his solid play in 2012. Last Tuesday, Hamline dropped a close 5-4 home match to St. Olaf, with Croonquist nearly leading his team to the upset win. The junior scored impressive wins at No. 1 singles and No. 2 doubles to provide the Pipers with two of their four team points and, for his performance, Croonquist has been named the MIAC Men's Tennis Athlete-of-the-Week.

Croonquist teamed up with partner Sam Teitelbaum in Hamline's No. 2 doubles spot against the Oles, and the two produced an excruciatingly close victory over the Oles' second squad by the score of 8-6. Croonquist also prevailed in nail biter in the top singles spot against St. Olaf's John Wight thanks to a great performance in the third set. The final scores were 6-2, 5-7, (10-3). The two wins helped Croonquist - who was regionally ranked in the Top 16 in both singles and doubles this fall - improve to 5-5 overall and 1-1 in MIAC play in both the solo standings and as part of a tandem.

The loss dropped Hamline to 5-8 overall and 0-5 in the MIAC, however, the Pipers are hoping for a strong performance down the stretch after having already played the conference's top four teams. The Pipers are currently enjoying a break from the action and will return to the court on April 17 when it travels to St. Joseph to face Saint John's in a conference match at 4 p.m. Hamline will also be on the road in conference play on April 21 against Macalester at St. Paul Highland Park High School at 3:30 p.m.
 

Andy Catania, St. Olaf

Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. / Dobbs Ferry
Week of: 2012-04-03

Over the weekend, the St. Olaf men's tennis team stopped a six-match losing streak against nonconference foe Luther with a thrilling 5-4 victory. Oles' junior Andy Catania (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.) played a huge role in the win with a win at No. 1 doubles, and his incredible three-set victory at fourth singles broke a 4-4 tie and decided the match in St. Olaf's favor. For his clutch performance, Catania has been named the MIAC Men's Tennis Athlete-of-the-Week.

 

Catania's big day started at the first doubles spot, as he and teammate John Wight took down Luther's top tandem in an 8-4 win to get the Oles off on the right foot. However, after a Luther player defaulted due to injury to level the score at 4-4, Catania was battling in the third set of his No. 4 singles match after a 6-1 win in the first and a 7-6 loss in the second. Twice, Catania faced match point and survived, and eventually broke his opponents serve. He finally claimed victory, 7-6, with a 7-4 win in the tiebreaker. This season, Catania is 7-1 in singles competition, including 4-0 at the No. 4 spot, and a perfect 8-0 in doubles play.

 

The win against a talented Luther team helped St. Olaf improve to 9-1 overall, and the Oles are still unbeaten in MIAC play at 2-0. Tuesday, they return to conference play with a 4 p.m. match at Hamline University in St. Paul. St. Olaf will then take 11 days off before facing St. Thomas in St. Paul on April 14.

Bernard Mitambo, Hamline

Minneapolis, Minn. / De La Salle
Week of: 2012-03-27

The Hamline men's tennis team had a tremendous trip to Florida over its spring break, winning four of five matches with the only loss coming to a regionally-ranked opponent. With several of the wins coming by a close margin, the performance of senior Bernard Mitambo (Minneapolis, Minn./De La Salle) was essential to the Pipers' success. Mitambo ran his personal singles winning streak to seven in a row, earning victories in all five of his Florida matches at Hamline's No. 3 spot. For his performance, Mitambo has been named the MIAC Men's Tennis Athlete-of-the-Week.

 

In Florida, three of Mitambo's singles wins came in straight sets against opponents from Colorado College (6-2, 6-1), UW-Oshkosh (6-3, 6-0) and a regionally-ranked competitor from Elmhurst (6-2, 6-2). His other two wins - against Olgethorpe (6-2, 0-6, 6-3) and Calvin (2-6, 6-3, 6-3) - were three-set thrillers that helped Hamline clinch a 5-4 victory in each match. He also had a great win at No. 2 doubles with partner Sam Teitelbaum on the trip. This season, Mitambo is 8-1 overall (1-1 MIAC) in singles play and 5-5 overall (1-1 MIAC) in doubles action.

 

The four-win trip helped Hamline reach the .500 mark this season. The Pipers are currently 5-5 overall and 0-2 in conference competition. Hamline and red-hot Mitambo hope to continue the momentum generated in Florida with a pair of conference matches on the docket this weekend. Saturday the Pipers host Saint Mary's at 4 p.m. and Sunday they travel to Northfield to face Carleton at 2:30 p.m.

 

Dan Cooper, St. Thomas

Madison, Wis. / West
Week of: 2012-03-13

The St. Thomas men's tennis team remained undefeated in conference play Saturday with a narrow win over Hamline with senior Dan Cooper (Madison, Wis./West) leading the way. Cooper helped provide two of the deciding points in the 5-4 win by claiming victories at No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles, including a win against a regionally-ranked Pipers' doubles team. For his performance, Cooper has been named the MIAC Men's Tennis Athlete-of-the-Week.

 

Cooper continued his great season in St. Thomas' Saturday victory, as he is now a perfect 6-0 playing in the Tommies' top doubles spot, and he has just one loss this season in singles play with a 5-1 record at the No. 2 spot. Against Hamline, Cooper won his No. 2 singles match in straight sets, 6-0 and 6-4, and his No. 1 doubles team beat Hamline's top team, which had a No. 16 region ranking, 8-4. The two wins were crucial as the conference match was decided by a single point. This is Cooper's second win of the season against a regionally-ranked doubles team after also beating UW-La Crosse (No. 7) earlier this season.

 

With the victory, St. Thomas improved to 5-1 overall and 4-0 in conference play to remain as one of the league's unbeaten teams thus far in 2012. This weekend, the Tommies will head south to Hilton Head, S.C., for four matches in four days as part of their spring trip. They'll face Nebraska Wesleyan, Hobart, Allegheny and UW-Eau Claire before returning to conference play April 1 at Saint Mary's.

 

Amrik Donkena, Gustavus

Rochester, Minn. / Mayo
Week of: 2012-03-06

The Gustavus men's tennis team had a busy day on Saturday, with two home nonconference matches on the schedule. However, the Gusties handled their full slate with aplomb, with junior Amrik Donkena (Rochester, Minn./Mayo) leading the way in a pair of 9-0 victories. Like his team, Donkena was undefeated on the day, winning a pair of matches at both No. 1 singles and the top doubles spot. For his performance, Donkena has been named the MIAC Men's Tennis Athlete-of-the-Week.

 

Donkena didn't lose a set in any of his matches Saturday, and was especially good in singles play. The Gusties' leader scored a 6-3, 6-1 win over Elmhurst's top singles player, and a 6-0, 6-2 win over Grinnell in the No. 1 spot. In doubles action, Donkena teamed with Mya Smith-Dennis for an 8-6 win over Elmhurst, and a convincing 8-1 win over Grinnell. This season, Donkena is ranked No. 1 in doubles and No. 2 in singles in the ITA Central Region. He is 5-2 in singles and 7-1 in doubles overall, and 2-0 in both in conference play this year.

 

The two nonconference victories helped Gustavus improve to 8-4 overall, while it still sits atop the MIAC standings with a perfect 5-0 record in conference play. This weekend, the Gusties will again hope for similar nonconference success as they follow the same format with two matches on Saturday. UW-Eau Claire comes to St. Peter for a 9 p.m. showdown, and Augustana will face Gustavus in another non-league match at 6 p.m.
 

 

Daniel Pomeranc, Gustavus

Sau Paulo, Brazil / Lycee Pasteur
Week of: 2012-02-28

The Gustavus men's tennis team scored a seventh-place finish at this weekend's 2012 ITA National Indoor Championship, which the Gusties hosted in St. Peter. Leading the way was Daniel Pomeranc (Sau Paulo, Brazil/Lycee Pasteur) as the senior led the Gustavus No. 3 doubles team to a 3-0 record throughout the tournament, including a win against eventual champion Emory. For his performance, Pomeranc has been named the MIAC Men's Tennis Athlete-of-the-Week.

It wasn't just that Pomeranc's doubles team won, it was how they did it throughout the weekend. Each of the three victories was a 9-8 win over an opponent from a Top-11 nationally-ranked team that needed a breaker to settle the match, so Pomeranc's clutch play in big spots led to three impressive wins. The first was a 9-8 (7-2) win over second-ranked Emory, the eventual champ. The second was even closer - a 9-8 (10-8) victory over No. 8-ranked Pomona Pitzer - and the third was a 9-8 (7-5) win in the Gusties seventh-place victory over No. 11 Chicago. This season, Pomeranc is 6-1 overall in doubles play and 2-1 in singles competition with perfect 3-0 (doubles) and 2-0 (singles) records in MIAC play.

 

The Gusties are now 6-4 overall and a perfect 5-0 in conference play, with two of their four losses coming over the weekend against the first- and sixth-place teams at the National Indoor Championship. This weekend, Gustavus returns to action on its home court with a pair of nonconference matches Saturday. The Gusties host Emhurst at 9 a.m. and Grinnell at 6 p.m. in St. Peter.

 

Fabricio Moncada, Saint John's

Managua, Nicaragua / Lincoln International Academy
Week of: 2012-02-21

The Saint John's men's tennis team dropped a pair of close MIAC decisions last week, but the Johnnies got outstanding play at the No. 1 singles spot from Fabricio Moncada (Managua, Nicaragua/Lincoln International Academy). The junior - coming off an ankle injury - led SJU by scoring individual wins against St. Thomas and Carleton Saturday and Sunday to go 2-0 for the week. Thanks to his standout performances, Moncada was named the MIAC Men's Tennis Athlete-of-the-Week, making it two weeks in a row that a Saint John's player has earned the honor.

Mondaca started the weekend with an impressive singles win over St. Thomas' top player in an extremely close match. Moncada won by the scores 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 10-2 in a match the Tommies eventually went on to win, 5-4. He followed that up with another win just a day later against Carleton's No. 1 singles player without as much drama, 6-3, 6-1. Despite is early-season injury, Moncada is now 3-1 overall and 2-1 in MIAC play, all from the No. 1 spot. and he is currently ranked No. 4 in the region and No. 21 nationally.

The Johnnies and Moncada will enjoy a break before heading to California, where they will continue their season with four matches over the course of two days. The trip starts on March 3 in Orange and Pasadena, Calif., with a matches against Chapman and the California Institute of Technology, and continues March 4 in Claremont and Los Angeles against Kenyon and Occidental. SJU returns to MIAC play on March 17 at Saint Mary's in Winona.

Ian Hansen, Saint John's

Dawson, Minn. / Dawson-Boyd
Week of: 2012-02-14

Ian Hansen's (Dawson, Minn./Dawson-Boyd) senior tennis season couldn't be off to a much better start. The Saint John's captain has been his team's leader thus far - as well as one of the top singles players in the MIAC - as he still remains unbeaten in singles play in 2012. Hansen is 4-0 with two wins at No. 1 and two at No. 2 for the Johnnies, including victories against Division I and Division II opponents. For his great play thus far, Hansen was honored Tuesday as the first-ever recipient of the MIAC Men's Tennis Athlete-of-the-Week award.

 

Hansen's season began in a big way on Feb. 4 when he earned victories at the No. 1 singles spot against opponents from D-I South Dakota State (6-2, 6-2) and D-II St. Cloud State (6-3, 4-6, 10-4). For an encore, he scored SJU's lone victory Saturday against defending MIAC champion Gustavus from the No. 2 spot (6-4, 6-2), and he added another No. 2 victory Sunday in nonconference action against St. Scholastica (6-2, 6-2). Hansen is just one of three MIAC players with four singles victories and no losses thus far in 2012, and in his four wins he has only dropped one set along the way.

Despite Hansen's individual excellence, Saint John's is off to a 1-3 start this season and an 0-1 start in MIAC play. However, the Johnnies are coming off a 6-3 win over St. Scholastica and will try to build on that with a pair of MIAC matches on the schedule this weekend. Hansen and his teammates will hit the road to face St. Thomas Saturday, and they'll host Carleton Sunday at Gold's Gym in Sartell at noon.