ST. PETER, Minn. – Gustavus Adolphus College plays host this weekend as the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference crowns a tournament champion in men’s tennis. The host Gusties captured their 19th consecutive league title and earned the top seed in this weekend’s tournament by going 9-0 in league play. The winner of this weekend’s tournament receives the MIAC’s automatic bid to field of 41 teams for the 2007 NCAA Division III Men’s Tennis Championships.
Gustavus enters the tournament as the only MIAC team ranked nationally by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. The fifth-ranked Gusties are also the top-ranked team in the Central Region, taking over the top spot from DePauw University in the first rankings of the spring. Gustavus posted a strong finish at the ITA Division III National Men’s Team Indoor Championships in St. Peter, Minn., placing fourth in a field that contained five of the nation’s top eight NCAA Division III teams. Carleton enters the weekend ranked eighth in the Central Region, up from 12th in the ITA’s initial fall rankings.
Gustavus’ Jesse Brauer and Andy Bryan lead the list of ranked men’s players from the MIAC. Bryan is ranked fifth nationally in singles, while Brauer is rated 11th. The pair are also the second-rated doubles team in NCAA Division III. Bryan is also rated first in the Central Region in singles with Brauer holding down the third slot. Carleton first year Winston Park is ranked 14th in the most recent Central Region singles rankings.
Two MIAC doubles teams are also rated in the top-10 of the Central Region. Gustavus’ Brauer and Bryan top the list, while teammates Mike Burdakin and Charlie Paukert, winners of last fall’s ITA Central Region doubles title, are rated ninth.
Gustavus finished atop the league standings with a perfect record for the 22nd consecutive season, capturing the school’s 42nd MIAC title in the process. Carleton finished second with an 8-1 league mark, followed by Bethel (6-3), Saint John’s (5-4), Concordia (5-4), and St. Thomas (4-5). Bethel was the biggest mover in the league standings from 2006 to 2007, improving five spots from eighth to third. The Royals finished 9-10 overall, 2-7 in the MIAC a year ago, but enter the 2007 MIAC Tournament with a 9-7 record overall and a 6-3 mark in the conference. St. Olaf (4-5), Hamline (3-6), Saint Mary’s (1-8) and Macalester (0-9) round out the standings.
This year’s tournament will begin at 4:30 p.m. Friday, April 27 with two first-round matches on the Brown Outdoor Courts on the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College. Play continues Saturday, April 28 with semifinal matches scheduled for 9 a.m. and the championship match slated for 2:00 p.m. In the event of rain, play will be moved to Gustavus’ Swanson Tennis Center. All matches contested outdoors will be played to completion. If weather forces the tournament indoors, matches will be played to decision.