Thursday, January 6, 2011

2011 Team Preview #3: Carleton

Peter Dunn

Coach: Stephen Zweifel, 12th Season
Location: Northfield, Minnesota
Conference: MIAC
2008 Ranking: 29
2009 Ranking: NR
2010 Ranking: 29
2011 Projected: 30

Carleton enters this season in an unfamiliar position. They are the defending conference champions and the favorites to repeat. With Gustavus being weak in 2010 and Carleton having their best team in school history, there was talk that the Knights might be able to dethrone the Gusties. Not many people, including myself, thought it would actually happen. It did, and Carleton found themselves in the NCAA tournament. The Knights posted their first tournament win in school history before falling to Trinity (TX). What some people may not have noticed is that they took the Tigers top 2 doubles teams to tiebreakers. This is impressive given what the Tigers did in doubles over their next 2 matches. Carleton did what was asked last season, and the real question is if they can do it again. It has to be an embarrassment for Gustavus to not win the conference, so I'm sure they will be out for revenge this year. I'm picking the Knights to win the conference this year and make another trip to the tournament. They are a superior team to the Gusties and only lost 1 starter from last year's NCAA tournament roster. I would be surprised if Carleton doesn't end this year ranked. Coach Zweifel is coming off a well deserved Central Region Coach of the Year honor, quite an impressive feat for a part-time coach who is also a Biology professor at the school. For those of you that haven't done so, read some of the coach's humorous quotes in Carleton's post-match recaps. Carleton has one of the most underrated players in the Central Region in junior Peter Dunn as well as other promising young players. They play an easy schedule, and their only real tests besides Gustavus will be against Whitewater and DePauw. The DePauw match is one I will keep an eye on to see how much this team has improved. This program is going in the right direction and it could really help the program if they can establish MIAC dominance again in 2011.