Gophers sweep ITA Regional, send three players to nationals

Felix Corwin and Matic Spec won the doubles tournament while Stefan Milicevic won the singles tournament.

by Max Biegert

It took less than an hour for Stefan Milicevic to complete the sweep for the Gophers men’s tennis program in the International Tennis Association Central Regional. 

Milicevic, along with the senior doubles duo of Felix Corwin and  Matic Spec, took home the singles and doubles championships in the central regional at the Gophers’ home court — Baseline Tennis Center. The three players will move on to compete in the ITA Oracle Nationals, which start Nov. 1. 

“I didn’t expect that we would sweep the singles and doubles, that was really cool,” said head coach Geoff Young. “But I expected us to do well and that was really nice to see.” 

Milicevic defeated Nebraska’s Toby Boyer6-1 in each of the two sets played. Boyer, who grew up in Ham Lake, Minnesota, was no match for the young Gophers sophomore from Serbia. Last year Milicevic was named the ITA Central Region Rookie of the Year and had a record of 17-7. Coming into this year, he looked to improve upon what he had learned. 

“This is a completely new experience,” Milicevic said. “Last year was pretty good, but I am just happy to experience this win and go to nationals and see how it all works out.” 

Corwin and Spec, the No. 3 seed coming into the tournament, took care of a team from Oklahoma in the semifinals in two sets.

“For all three of them to go into Indian Wells at the Oracle Nationals will be really awesome for them,” Young said. “It is a good feeling, but there is a lot of work to do as well.”

Women’s Tennis doesn’t reach the final eight. 

The Gophers got as far as the Round of 16 before seeing all their players get knocked out of the ITA Central Regional Tournament in Lawrence, Kansas.

13th seeded Caroline Ryba made the Round of 16 in both singles and doubles. She lost out to Zoe Douglas of Iowa in her singles match 6-1, 6-1. Ryba and her doubles partner River Hart were the ninth seeded doubles pairing and saw their tournament come to an end after losing to No. 2 seeded duo from Oklahoma State.

“We are not satisfied with the results by any means, but for her being her senior year, I know she wanted to make it further than she did,” said head coach Catrina Thompson.

The Gophers also had an unseeded pair reach the Round of 16 in Karyna Bihel and Camila Vargas Gomez. They put up a good fight in their match, but fell 8-5 to a pair from Missouri.

Vargas also made it to the semifinals of the consolation bracket in singles but fell to Oleksandra Doroshenko of Southeast Missouri 1-6, 6-4, 10-8.

“For us right now, we are looking at the big picture,” Thompson said. “In the fall, we just want to get a bunch of matches in and keep moving forward in the right direction and that’s what we need to continue to do.”