Gophers hanging strong at ITA

Play has yet to conclude, but itâÄôs been a breakout weekend already for the Gophers in Columbus, Ohio. The ITA regional tournament began last Wednesday and ends today. With three singles players already in, Minnesota qualified three more to the main draw level of competition early in the tournament. Freshmen Michael Sicora, Phillip Arndt, and Julian Dehn were the other three, each winning three straight matches on the way to a spot in the main draw. âÄúIt was great to have all three to break through,âÄù Coach Geoff Young said. On his way to the main draw, Phillip Arndt won an overwhelming three set match over fifth-seeded Wisconsin player Michael Muskievicz. Besides this, the GophersâÄô outstanding freshmen had relatively few problems in the qualifying rounds . âÄúThey won those matches pretty convincingly,âÄù Young said. Even though every Minnesota player, including the freshman, dropped by Sunday morning from the main draw , it was clear that the Gophers were excited and energetic about the all-around solid performance. Coach Young also focused on how it gave many of his players more experience and insight into competitive tournaments and Big Ten regular season play. âÄúThe more matches you play in a tournament, the more you can learn, the more opportunities you have to get confidence in yourself, and I think theyâÄôve realized even though they lost eventually to very good players, they [also] realized they can play at that level,âÄù Young said. Sophomore Tobias Wernet was the last man standing for Minnesota singles, losing to the No. 1 seed from Ohio State Sunday morning. But Wernet had even more going for him. He joined new doubles player Michael Sicora in the quarterfinal of the main draw on Sunday afternoon versus Big Ten opponent Illinois.