The tenth-ranked Gustavus men’s tennis team earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament after claiming the MIAC Playoff Championship on Saturday at the Brown Outdoor Tennis Courts in St. Peter. The Gusties, who improved to 25-8, defeated St. Olaf 8-1 after defeating St. Thomas 9-0 in the semifinal round. The NCAA Tournament field will be announced on Monday afternoon.
Gustavus, who was seeded #1 in the tournament as a result of winning the MIAC regular season title, started the day with a 5-0 win over St. Thomas. The Gusties earned all three doubles points as Mike Burdakin and John Kauss defeated Phillip Hanke and Kevin Walker 8-2 at the #1 position, Charlie Paukert and Ben Tomasek defeated Dan Cooper and Matt Bergstrom 8-0 at the #2 position, and David Koppel and Patrick Clark defeated Drew Carlson and Andy Michels 8-5 at the #3 position. Gustavus closed out the match with singles wins in the #1 and #4 spots. John Kauss defeated Phillip Hanke 6-0, 6-1 at the #1 position, while Ben Tomasek defeated Dan Cooper 6-1, 6-2 at the #4 position. The Gusties also received wins from Mike Burdakin at #2, Charlie Paukert at #3, Patrick Clark at #5, and Nick Hansen at #6.
In the championship match, Gustavus again claimed each of the three doubles points Mike Burdakin and John Kauss defeated Ian Pray and Knute Gundersen 8-4 at the #1 position, Charlie Paukert and Ben Tomasek defeated David Narvaez and Brian Tolly 8-3 at the #2 position, and Nick Hansen and Kevin Stickney defeated Will Mitchell and John Wight 8-5 at the #3 position. Ben Tomasek tallied the first singles win for the Gusties as he defeated Brian Tolly 6-2, 6-2 at the #4 spot, while John Kauss notched the deciding point at #1 singles by defeating Ian Pray 6-1, 6-0. Gustavus finished the match with wins at #2 singles by Mike Burdakin, #3 singles by Charlie Paukert, and at #6 singles by Patrick Clark.
The Gusties, who will be appearing in the NCAA Tournament for the 26th time, will be making their 16th consecutive appearance. Gustavus won the NCAA Championship in 1980 and 1982.