MIAC Men's Tennis Notebook - March 29, 2019

Bethel senior Hunter Fernelius became the program's all-time wins leader last week.
Bethel senior Hunter Fernelius became the program's all-time wins leader last week.

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- With March trips to Florida and South Carolina wrapping up this week, Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) men's tennis teams are returning home in preparation for the conference-match-packed final month of the season.

POLL TALK
Gustavus is ranked No. 20 with Carleton at No. 37 in the latest Oracle/ITA Division III Men's Tennis National Rankings, released on March 28. The Gusties rank fourth in the latest Central Region rankings, followed by the Knights at No. 8. For the first time in the history of the program, Macalester is ranked regionally at No. 20.

Hamline's Jake Trondson is the top-ranked singles player in the MIAC, currently slotted at No. 11 in the nation. Carleton's Leo Vithoontien is ranked No. 15, with Gustavus' Patrick Whaling and Chase Johnson at Nos. 23 and 24, respectively. Whaling and Johnson are also ranked No. 3 in the country as a doubles team, with teammates Yassine Derbani and Nick Aney at No. 13. Carleton's Vithoontien and Jordon O'Kelly are ranked No. 19.

Vithoontien ranks second in the Central Region this week, with Whaling at No. 5 and Trondson at No. 7. Johnson and Derbani rank Nos. 14 and 20 in the region, respectively, for singles play. In doubles action, Johnson and Whaling are tops in the Central with Vithoontien and O'Kelly at No. 5 and Derbani and Aney at No. 11.

AROUND THE MIAC
Bethel senior Hunter Fernelius became the program's all-time wins leader last week, bringing his career total to 127 thanks to a pair of victories in both singles and doubles play. Fernelius won a combined four in a row to end the Royals' spring break trip, including an upset victory over Hamilton's UTR-ranked Max Zimmerman at No. 1 singles.

Carleton is riding a 13-match winning streak into its non-conference season finale on Friday. The Knights are 15-0 against Division III opponents this season. First-year competitor Xander Roti boasts a team-best 14-1 record on the year in singles action.

Concordia junior Carter Steffes capped a dramatic group of singles to help the Cobbers edge Saint Mary's, 5-4, on Sunday. Steffes earned one of two super-set tiebreaker wins for Concordia as the Cobbers earned their first conference victory of the season.

Gustavus' Chase Johnson went a combined 5-1 in singles and doubles play at the highly-competitive Stag-Hen Invitational, which featured a field of eight nationally-ranked teams. Johnson went 3-0 at No. 2 singles, including a pair of three-set breakers, and posted a 2-1 record at No. 1 doubles with partner Patrick Whaling. The Gusties took seventh place with an 8-1 win over No. 31 Swarthmore after losing to No. 12 Sewanee and No. 26 Skidmore.

Hamline's Jake Trondson went 5-0 in singles play and 4-1 in doubles action last week, working from the No. 1 position in both. Trondson is on a six-match win streak.

Macalester opened the 2019 campaign with seven consecutive victories and is now regionally-ranked for the first time in program history. Senior Peter Willenborg has an 8-1 record on the season at No. 5 singles to lead the Scots.

Saint John's sophomore Thomas Gillach has won four of his last five matches at No. 1 singles, enjoying a four-match win streak before falling at nationally-ranked Gustavus last weekend.

Saint Mary's saw three of its singles matches against Concordia stretched to a third set last weekend. Trevor Smiley was the Cardinals' lone victor in those extra frames, rallying from a set down to win 0-6, 6-1, 10-8 at No. 4 singles.

St. Olaf sophomore Spencer Wick has won three straight singles matches after starting season 0-5. His doubles win against Saint Mary's on March 15 was one of two tiebreaker victories for St. Olaf, which gave the Oles a 2-1 lead going into singles.

St. Thomas' Erich Nuss is on a three-match winning streak and has gone 7-1 in his last eight outings, including securing the only point for the Tommies against nationally-ranked Oberlin at No. 6 singles earlier this week. Nuss is 4-0 against MIAC foes this season.