Men’s Tennis Earns Seventh-Straight MIAC Playoff Title

Posted on May 6th, 2017 by

PHOTO GALLERY

ST. PETER, Minn. – The No. 21-ranked Gustavus men’s tennis team defeated the University of St. Thomas 5-1 Saturday afternoon at Swanson Tennis Center to claim its 10th overall and seventh-consecutive Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Playoff Championship.

With the win, the Gusties improve their overall record to 24-8 and earn an automatic berth to the 2017 NCAA Championships. Gustavus will be making its seventh straight and 30th overall appearance in the national tournament since 1983.

Yassine Derbani clinched the game-winning point in singles play. (Photo courtesy of Carly Onraet ’19, Gustavus Sports Information)

Gustavus led 2-1 after doubles play and extended its lead with singles wins from Zach Ekstein (Jr., Eagan, Minn.) and Chase Johnson (So., Golden Valley, Minn.) before the 5-1 win was clinched with a No. 6 singles spot victory from Yassine Derbani (Fy., Casablanca, Morocco).

“The guys came out with great energy today in the doubles and our No. 1 and No. 2 teams executed our game plans beautifully,” said Head Coach Tommy Valentini, who earns his seventh-straight postseason conference title in his eighth season at the helm. “All three teams competed with poise and belief and did very well to focus on what was within their control. We were able to carry that mindset into the singles, and we handled the moment well and with good focus.”

Gustavus 5, St. Thomas 1 (Box)

Singles

  1. Mohanad Alhouni (Jr., Tripoli, Libya) (GAC) vs. Luke Elifson (UST) 6-3, 3-1, unfinished
  2. Zach Ekstein (Jr., Eagan, Minn.) (GAC) def. Scott Wall (UST) 6-1, 6-2
  3. Patrick Whaling (So., Mankiob Sabot, Va.) (GAC) vs. Burke Anderson (UST) 6-2, 4-2, unfinished
  4. Tommy Entwistle (Jr., Sioux Falls, S.D.) vs. Marty Beck (UST) 6-4, 1-0, unfinished
  5. Chase Johnson (So., Golden Valley, Minn.) (GAC) def. Tom Runde (UST) 6-0, 6-0
  6. Yassine Derbani (Fy., Casablanca, Morocco) (GAC) def. Ben Wait (UST) 6-2, 6-2

Doubles

  1. Alhouni/Whaling (GAC) def. Beck/Elifson (UST) 8-3
  2. Entwistle/Johnson (GAC) def. Matt Kavanagh/Wall (UST) 8-1
  3. Anderson/Wait (UST) def. David Hagberg (Sr., Eden Prairie, Minn.)/Derbani (GAC) 8-6

Additionally, Gabe Steinwand (Jr., Moorhead, Minn.) was awarded with the MIAC Elite 22 Award.

MIAC Executive Director Dan McKane presents Steinwand with Elite 22 Award.

The MIAC Elite 22 Award recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the conference championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers. Modeled after the NCAA Elite 90 Award, the MIAC Elite 22 Award is presented to the student-athlete with the highest grade point average (GPA) in each sport who meet similarly high, sport-specific athletic requirements.

“We’re grateful for the result and for the opportunity to keep making progress as a team,” Valentini commented.

The field for the national team tournament will be announced on NCAA.com on Monday.

 

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