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 20th 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 the field of 41 teams for the 2008 NCAA Division III Men’s Tennis Championships.
Gustavus and Carleton enter the tournament as the only MIAC teams ranked nationally by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. The sixth-ranked Gusties are also the third-ranked team in the Central Region, dropping from the top spot in the final rankings of the fall. Gustavus won its fourth ITA Division III National Men’s Team Indoor Championships in eight years in a field that contained five of the nation’s top eight NCAA Division III teams. Carleton enters the weekend ranked 28th nationally and seventh in the Central Region, up from eighth in the ITA’s final fall rankings.
Gustavus’ Andy Bryan and John Kauss leads the list of ranked men’s players from the MIAC. Bryan is ranked first regionally in singles, while Kauss is rated fourth. St. Thomas first-year Arya Vayghan and Carleton sophomore Colin Russel are ranked ninth and 12th, respectively, in the most recent Central Region singles rankings. Only one MIAC doubles team is rated in the top-10 of the Central Region. Gustavus’ Bryan and Charlie Paukert, winners of last fall’s ITA Central Region doubles title, are rated second.
Gustavus finished atop the league standings with a perfect record for the 23rd consecutive season, capturing the school’s 42nd MIAC title in the process. Carleton finished second with an 8-1 league mark, followed by Bethel (7-2), St. Thomas (6-3), Saint John’s (5-4), and St. Olaf (4-5). St. Thomas was the biggest mover in the league standings from 2007 to 2008, improving two spots from sixth to fourth. The Tommies finished 8-10 overall, 4-5 in the MIAC a year ago, but enter the 2008 MIAC Tournament with a 10-6 record overall and a 6-3 mark in the conference. Concordia, Macalester, and Saint Mary’s, which finished at 2-7, and Hamline (0-9) round out the standings.
This year’s tournament will begin at 12 p.m. Friday, April 25 with one first-round match on the Brown Outdoor Courts, followed by the second first-round match at 3 p.m. Play continues Saturday, April 26 with semifinal matches scheduled for 9 a.m. on the Gibbs Outdoor Courts and the championship match slated for 2 p.m. on the Brown Outdoor Courts. 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.