With momentum, Gophers poised to put up a fight

Momentum âÄì itâÄôs something every team needs at some point. Minnesota menâÄôs tennis has had it for a while, and should use it in their most important match of the dual-meet season tonight vs. No. 21 Wake Forest. The Gophers (5-1) are coming off three-straight wins after a disappointing 4-3 loss to Louisville two weeks ago. Since then, Minnesota has only lost two singles matches, bringing the teamâÄôs total dual-match record to 31-5. Freshman Phillip Arndt and sophomore captain Tobias Wernet lead the singles pack with undefeated records. Last weekâÄôs important win over Southern Methodist (No. 46) pushed the men into the rankings. As of yesterday, Minnesota was ranked No. 60 nationally. âÄúI think we can just take this momentum to come out on fire tomorrow,âÄù Wernet said. The match, unlike some of the other dual-matches this season, is something coach Geoff Young and his players have looked toward since returning from winter break. âÄúWeâÄôve kind of had this match in mind for some time because we know theyâÄôre a very good team. If weâÄôre able to get the win, itâÄôs going to help us later in the season,âÄù Young said. Another upset would help bring the GophersâÄô confidence, success, and even rankings, that much higher; it could serve as a catalyst for success later in the season. âÄúIt would be a start to bring us back in the top of the nation. ThatâÄôs our goal for this year, I think our big goal is to play the Sweet 16,âÄù Wernet said. Nobody on the Minnesota team doubts another potential upset, especially on their home court. The Gophers are entering their third of seven matches at Baseline on Friday. âÄúHopefully the home crowd will support us on our own courts âÄì weâÄôve been playing very well here âÄì so hopefully it will continue,âÄù freshman Jonathan Hadash said. âÄú[The crowd] motivates you and drives you to play better.âÄù But Hadash and his team also know it wonâÄôt come without a fight, either. âÄúItâÄôll be close, I donâÄôt know who will win or who will lose, obviously yet. I do promise itâÄôs going to be a good, close match,âÄù Young said. On Sunday the Gophers will have to stay strong for a double-header with Binghamton and Drake (No. 53). BinghamtonâÄôs coach, Adam Cohen, is a former Gophers tennis star and someone coach Young has known since the age of 12. In the middle of the menâÄôs seven-match homestretch, Minnesota womenâÄôs tennis is just beginning a six-match road trip, starting Saturday at Missouri (No. 75). Coach Tyler Thomson saw skills acquired in practice finally transfer to matches with ease last weekend. The test this weekend: try to do it on the road. âÄúIf we can carry these principles on the road and not be so concerned about the external thingsâĦweâÄôll be fine,âÄù Thomson said.